Health Spending Rose Dramatically in 2000

January 8, 2002 ( - National health spending increased to 6.9% in 200 from 5.7% in 1999, the greatest surge in spending seen since 1988 according to the National Health Statistics Group and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Overall, the increases amounted to $1.3 trillion. Health care spending averaged $4,637 per person in 2000, nearly a six percentage point rise compared to 1999.

Growth in expenditures in 1999 and 2000 slightly outpaced the Gross Domestic Product, a sign to insiders that the near decade of stability in health spending may end. The health share cost of GDP has increased to 13.2%, approximately what it was in 1992. Additionally, the Centers noted that the slowing economy and health inflation are indicators of increases in the near future.

Medicare accounted for 38% of public spending on health care and 17% of overall health spending. Spending for Medicare rose to $224 billion in 2000, an increase of 5.6 percentage points for the year.

Spending for prescription drugs leaped 17.3% to $121.8 billion, the largest percentage rise in health-care spending, but the pace slowed when compared with the 19.2% rise in 1999.