February 26, 2008
US healthcare spending to nearly double by 2017
by Alison Fischer
A report by economists at the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services forecast that healthcare spending in the US will nearly double over the next decade to $4.3 trillion in 2017. The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs.
According to the report, healthcare spending will grow by an annual rate of about 6.7 percent through 2017, outpacing annual economic growth of 4.9 percent. The increase in healthcare spending will be due in part to higher prices for drugs and an ageing population who will be seeking treatment for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, the report authors indicated. Furthermore, prescription drug spending over the next decade is expected to more than double to $515.7 billion from the projected $231.3 billion in 2007.
Commenting on the news, Miller Tabak's Les Funtleyder noted that "the growth rates are staggering, when you compare it to inflation." Study author Sean Keehan added that "healthcare is expected to consume an expanding share of the US economy over the next decade, meaning policy makers, insurers, and the public collectively face some difficult decisions about the way healthcare is delivered and paid for."