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Medical News & Perspectives
February 24, 2010

Recession Helped Put Brakes on Growth in US Health Care Spending for 2008

JAMA. 2010;303(8):715. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.162

The severe recession helped slow the growth in US health care spending to a historic low rate in 2008. Yet health care spending still outpaced inflation and now holds its largest percentage share ever of the gross domestic product (GDP).

US health care spending reached $2.3 trillion, or $7681 per individual, in 2008. The growth rate of 4.4% (down from 6.0% in 2007) was the lowest recorded since tracking began in 1960. But with the overall economy contracting, health care spending actually increased its share of GDP to 16.2%, up from 15.9% in 2007. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the findings January 5 (Hartman M et al. Health Aff [Millwood]. 2010;29[1]:147-155).