All insurers face similar spending growth

It’s not quite a news flash anymore, but the rapid rate of growth in health spending relative to national income is raising concern among policymakers — is the U.S. health care system financially stable? Health care growth is an issue for both private and public payers, with each sector facing similar patterns at least through 2015, according to a report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Employers and workers face rapid premium increases, raising concern about affordability of coverage and the effect that paying for health care might have on the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses. On the Medicare and Medicaid side, spending growth, combined with the aging population, has led to questions about long-term affordability.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released projected health care expenditures for 2005 through 2015 — and it’s sobering news. Total health expenditures are estimated to be $2.16 trillion in 2006, and are projected to surpass $4 trillion in 2015. Spending is $7,110 per person this year and is projected to be $12,320 by the end of 2015. Growth in health spending will consistently outpace gross domestic product over the coming decade, accounting for 20 percent of GDP by 2015.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary

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