Health Care Spending Makes Record Leap in GDP Share

GDP health share now estimated at 17.3 percent; health spending in 2019 projected at $4.5 trillion
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A growth in health spending in 2009, coupled with a sagging economy, created the largest one-year jump in health care's share of the nation's gross domestic product since 1960, according to an article published online Feb. 4 in Health Affairs.

Christopher J. Truffer, of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore, and colleagues report that national health spending grew by an estimated 5.7 percent to $2.5 trillion in 2009, thus accounting for an expected 17.3 percent of GDP.

Public health spending grew much faster in 2009 than private spending (8.7 versus 3 percent), due in part to a rise in Medicaid enrollment following higher unemployment and a decline in private insurance enrollment. Health spending growth is anticipated to slow in 2010 but, by 2019, health spending is anticipated to rise to $4.5 trillion, with health care's share of GDP to be 19.3 percent.

"The economic recession is projected to have major effects on the health care system, contributing not only to slower spending growth in the next several years but also to a shift of payment sources, primarily from private health insurance and out-of-pocket spending to Medicaid. How quickly economic growth rebounds, and to what extent, will affect the growth of health care spending over the next decade," the authors conclude.

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