Americans Cut Healthcare Spending in Recession, Report Says

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012 07:48 AM

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Americans cut spending on as much as they could during the recession and ensuing sluggish recovery, including on healthcare, a government study shows.

In 2009 and 2010 total healthcare spending grew under 4 percent, the slowest pace since the government began keeping records over 50 years ago, as Americans cut physician and hospital services to save money, CNBC reports.

"This certainly was a very deep and significant recession," says Stephen Heffler, director of the National health Statistics Group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, CNBC adds.
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"The impact that it had on use is certainly bigger than we’ve seen in the past."

Total healthcare spending in 2010 hit $2.6 trillion.

That total amounts to 17.9 percent of gross domestic product, which was unchanged from 2009.

Growth, however, is slowing down big time.

Healthcare spending increased by 3.9 percent in 2010 from 2009, much slower than increases of 7.6 percent annually from a decade earlier, according the latest National Health Expenditures report.

The White House says the report cites the need for consumer protections set out in the Affordable Care Act health reform law, including a requirement that insurance companies justify large premium increases, according to MSNBC.

"In 2010, the net cost of health insurance — which includes the overhead and insurance company profits — increased by 8.4 percent. That's more than twice the increase in the cost of health care," deputy White House Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle says in an official blog, MSN adds.

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