Much slower growth in prescription-drug spending tempered overall growth in healthcare expenditures in 2005, the CMS said. U.S. healthcare spending rose 6.9% that year -- the slowest rate of growth since 1999 -- to reach a total of nearly $2 trillion. In comparison, overall health spending rose 7.2% in 2004 and 8.1% in 2003. The CMS, in its annual analysis of healthcare spending trends, said increased use of generic drugs, changes in therapy regimens, higher copayments for drugs and decelerating Medicaid spending on drugs had a significant impact. In all, U.S. spending on prescription drugs climbed only 5.8% in 2005, compared with a growth rate of 8.6% in 2004. Hospital spending, accounting for the single largest portion of total health spending, was up about 7.8% to $611 billion in 2005, from $567 billion in 2004. The analysis was published by Health Affairs. Read the abstract. -- by Jennifer Lubell
Health spending growth slows again
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