KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

U.S. Health Care Spending, Usage Rise

Americans' spending on medicines in 2013 rose 3.2 percent to nearly $330 billion, fueling speculation that a dip in overall health care spending may be over.

Los Angeles Times: More U.S. Consumers Are Seeking Medical Care, Report Shows
A historic slowdown in U.S. health care spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published Tuesday and healthcare experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting more prescriptions filled and visiting the hospital. Other factors such as millions of newly insured Americans seeking treatment for the first time and higher prices from health care consolidation could also help drive up costs (Terhune, 4/14).

Reuters:  U.S. Health Care Usage And Spending Resumes Rise In 2013 
Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading health care information company. Spending on medicines rose 3.2 percent in the United States last year to $329.2 billion. While that was far less than the double-digit increases seen in previous decades, it was a rebound from a 1 percent decline in 2012, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc. found Berkrot, 4/15).

And the costs for some specialty drugs increase --

The New York Times: Prices Soaring for Specialty Drugs, Researchers Find
Even as the cost of prescription drugs has plummeted for many Americans, a small slice of the population is being asked to shoulder more and more of the cost of expensive treatments for diseases like cancer and hepatitis C, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a major drug research firm (Thomas, 4/15).

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