Health Care Spending Hits $1.7 Trillion in 2003 in US

According to a February 11, 2004 Associated Press story, health care spending in the United States grew to an estimated $1.7 trillion in 2003. This represents more than $5,800 for every American. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that this expenditure represents more than 15% of the gross domestic product of the United States.

The rate of increase of health care spending was 7.8% over the previous year. This figure continues to place healthcare spending increases far ahead of the rest of the US economy. The article continued to note that health care spending, is projected to outpace growth in the rest of the economy for the next 10 years.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also estimated that by 2013, annual spending on health is expected to reach $3.4 trillion and be more than 18 percent of gross domestic product. These projections did not include the anticipated increases from the new Medicare prescription drug law, which will offer seniors prescription drug coverage beginning in 2006. However, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials said they expect a shift in who pays prescription drug bills rather than a significant increase in spending on drugs. It was noted that the increase in spending on prescription drugs will continue to outpace the rest of health care for the next 10 years.

The report published in the January / February 2004 Issue of the Health Affairs, the number one cited health policy journal devoted to publishing original peer-reviewed research and commentary, reported that private health insurance premiums per enrollee grew 10.4 percent in 2003, the third consecutive year of double-digit premium growth.