USA Today: Unprecedented Drop In Medical Spending
The growth rate of health spending is at its slowest in a half-century, "a sign that people are forgoing medical care during the recession," according to an "analysis of government data" by USA Today.
"Spending on doctors, hospitals, drugs and other medical care climbed at a 2.7% annual rate per person in the first half of 2010, the smallest increase since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began tracking medical care in 1959. When inflation is taken into account, spending per person actually fell 0.2% in the first six months of the year. That's the first decline since the government began adjusting for inflation in 1995 [The drop] appears to be the result of a bad economy and high unemployment, health care experts say. ... The recession has shifted some people from private insurance to government programs, says health care economist Robert Brook of the conservative Heritage Foundation. That may have cut overall spending because the government generally pays lower rates than private insurers, he says" (Cauchon, 9/2).