Study Finds Health Care Spending Will Rebound When Economy Picks Up

The analysis by The Kaiser Family Foundation says the slowdown in health spending over the past several years was largely driven by the economic malaise.

Los Angeles Times: Study: Growth In Health Spending, Curbed By Recession, To Rebound
A new study attributes a slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending to the recent recession and predicts more rapid growth as the economy strengthens. The report issued Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation seeks to shed light on the reasons behind the recent drop-off. The analysis found that economic factors related to the recession accounted for 77% of the reduced growth in national healthcare spending, which totaled an estimated $2.8 trillion in 2012 (Terhune, 4/22).

The Washington Post's WonkBlog: Here's Why Health-Care Costs Are Slowing
The answer has huge implications for the federal budget, which now faces threats of really fast growth in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. If those programs grow like they have for the past few years — at the same rate as the rest of the economy — then that frees up lots of funds for whatever other investments the federal government wants to make (Kliff, 4/22).

The Hill: Study Predicts Rise In Healthcare Cost Growth By 2019
A stronger U.S. economy will contribute to a rise in the growth of healthcare costs over the next six years, ending the current record-breaking slowdown, according to a new study. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) predicted that by 2019, annual healthcare cost growth will be closer to historic averages — over 7 percent compared to 3.9 percent between 2009 and 2011 (Viebeck,4/22).

CQ HealthBeat: Nation's Health Spending Problem Remains Unsolved, Kaiser Analysts Say
Speculation that the nation's health spending problem has somehow been solved or cut down to size is unrealistic, says a new Kaiser Family Foundation study that concludes 77 percent of the slowdown stems from the weak economy. … But the analysts had a bit of good news. They said the chilling effect on individual health spending due to the weak economy will continue for a few more years (Reichard, 4/22).

(KHN is an editorially independent project of The Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Meanwhile, a different analysis is released on health issues--

Reuters: S&P Sees Pension Funding Burden Of Nonprofit Healthcare
Pension liabilities, expenses and contributions remain a burden on U.S. not-for-profit hospitals despite improvements in the investments used to fund the retirement systems, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Monday. Large pension funding demands will likely "be a drag on the sector for several years," it added (Lambert and Trokie, 4/22).

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