The economists and number-crunchers who work for Medicare released a sobering analysis of healthcare spending during the months before and immediately after the June 2009 end of the Great Recession. The figures offer a detailed snapshot of spending for products and providers by private insurers, Medicare, Medicaid and households. Interested readers can pore through the numbers here.
Slower but still big
As the analysis, published in the journal Health Affairs, noted, spending on private insurance and health spending by households flagged during the recession. But since the economy contracted in 2009 by 1.7%, healthcare increased to 17.6% of the nation's gross domestic product from 16.6% the prior year.
U.S. household spending growth was nearly flat in 2009 at 0.4%, compared with 3.1% the prior year. Out-of-pocket spending totaled $299.3 billion that year from $298.2 billion in 2008. A closer look at out-of-pocket spending shows household spending for hospitals, doctors and clinical services slowed in 2009, but accelerated for prescription drugs and home healthcare.
Per capita out-of-pocket spending actually declined to $974 in 2009 from $978 the year before, the figures show. For hospitals, per capita spending out-of-pocket increased by $3 to $79, while spending for physician and clinical services declined $3 to $156. Per capita spending for prescription drugs—which accounted for 17.7% of out-of-pocket spending in 2009, the single largest spending category for households—increased $2 to $172.
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