Growth in healthcare spending slowed for the first time in five years in 2002 -- to 9.6% per privately insured American -- but was nearly four times higher than overall U.S. economic growth of 2.7% per capita, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington. Growth in healthcare spending was 10% in 2001. Hospital spending, both inpatient and outpatient, accounted for the largest portion of the overall increase, 51%, for the second straight year, the center said in a report published today. And hospital prices increased 5.1%, as measured by the government's Producer Price Index, the largest increase since the government began tracking negotiated hospital prices in 1993. "As a result, hospital price inflation became a more important contributor to the increase in hospital care spending, whereas in 2001 its role was much less important than that of the increase in utilization," according to the report, published today on Health Affairs' Web site. Read the study. -- by Tony Fong
Health spending growth slows -- slightly: study
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