Researchers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the US Department of Health and Human Services said total health care spending could reach $2.8 trillion or 17% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2011, up from 13.2% of GDP in 2000.
Experts cite several reasons for the increase:
- heightened bargaining power of hospitals and other health providers for higher insurance payments
- aging baby boomers demanding expensive tests and treatment as well as prescription drugs advertised on television.
Private health-care spending is expected to peak this year at 9.4% then drop gradually to 5.9% by 2011, government researchers said. The trend reflects the reimposition of managed-care restrictions, a projected real-income slowing and other factors.
Spending on prescription drugs, the fastest growing part of health costs, is expected to slow, dropping from 17.3% growth in 2000 to 10.1% in 2011.
Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, a central figure in the ongoing Congressional debate over pension and benefit issues, said the estimates of rising costs are not surprising.
“I think the tech growth is wonderful – I think it’s great that we have all these options,” he said. “What we don’t have is a way to judge how much we can afford as a nation to spend on health care.”
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