Health Spending in U.S. Increased Nearly 6%

The U.S. spent over $3.2 trillion on healthcare during 2015, which was higher by 5.8% from the prior year, showed new data released from Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services.

That rate is faster than what was spent during 2014, when health spending overall increased by 5.3%. It was the fastest rate of growth in healthcare spending since 2007.

The $3.2 billion includes the combined amount that was spent on healthcare for everyone, including the government at every level federal, state and local, businesses and individuals.

Total healthcare spending in the U.S. reached close to $10,000 per person in 2015, which was up 5% from the year before. As a portion of the economy, it rose to over 17.8% for the GDP, which was up from 2014 when it was 17.4%.

The increase was largely due to expanded coverage of healthcare under Obamacare and more use of healthcare services, noted the data that was released.

During 2013, 86% of the U.S. population had insurance, by 2015 that had reached close to 91%.

Overall growth in expenditures related to healthcare in 2015 were driven in a large part by money that was spent on buying private health insurance, hospital care and clinical and physician services.

At the same time, costs out of pocket for individuals, such as coinsurance, copays, deductibles as well as money spent for services that were non-covered increase by 2.6%, which was up from 1.4% during 2014.

For a second consecutive year, the fastest growth was for retail prescription drug spending which increased 9%. That is due primarily to increased spending for new medicines, an increase in prices for existing drugs, more spending on generics and a drop in the number of blockbuster drugs that are expensive and whose patents have since expired.

The growth rate in national spending for healthcare was at all-time low between 2009 and 2013, muted through a weakened economy and some measures form the Affordable Care act that were meant to limit spending.

However, that started increasing again during 2014, as more people in the U.S. became covered through the exchanges that the ACA offered and the expansion of Medicaid.

Republicans vowed to have ACA repealed and to replace it. Now that the GOP will control both the White House and Congress starting in January, the party seems to be split on how they will do just that.