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US Healthcare Spending Hit $3.3T in 2016

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Both private and public forms of medical insurance, prescription drugs, medical goods, Medicare, Medicaid and health services were affected by the weakening demand for these forms of treatment in 2016, making it clear that most Americans found the Affordable Healthcare Act not so affordable.

In all, spending on health care in the United States hit $3.3 trillion in 2016, working out to $10,348 per person.

Overall spending on skilled nursing care slowed in 2016, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Enrollment in a health insurance plan on HealthCare.gov is up by 21 percent from past year among SC residents, with a little more than a week to go in the open enrollment period, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS said that a downturn in enrollment growth, as well as lower retail prescription drug spending. That was due to slower enrollment growth, which was partly offset by faster growth in hospital prices, which accelerated slightly from 0.9% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2016.

Spending growth slowed in 2016 for private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. But that it only grew at a rate of 4.3% - down from the 5.1% and 5.8% spending growth rates seen in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

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The slower growth in 2016 may indicate a return to a more normal trend with future factors based on economic conditions and shifting demographics, the authors write.

Retail prescription spending increased 1.3% in 2016, growing to $328.6 billion - roughly 10% of overall health spending. The notable slowdown in private health insurance spending was mainly driven by slower enrollment growth, slower growth in spending for retail prescription drugs, and a continued shift to high-deductible plans.

Despite slower growth in health spending overall, consumers still faced the fastest rate of growth in out-of-pocket spending since 2007, with an increase of 3.9%.

Authors of the CMS report said spending growth slowed previous year for all three major categories of medical goods and services - hospitals, physician/clinical services and retail prescription drugs - for the first time since 2010. In 2016, however, this number increased to 17.9%.

Medicaid, a partially-run federal health insurance program for the poor, grew by 3.9% last year which was a drastic decrease from the previous two years (11.5% in 2014 and 9.5% in 2015). CMS attributed the previous large increases to the introduction of new drugs and higher prices for existing drugs, particularly those used to help treat hepatitis C. Overall use and intensity of services was 2.3%, lower than the increase of 3.4% in 2015, due to the effects of the ACA. On a per capita basis, national health spending grew at 3.5%, reaching $10,348 a year ago. The share of spending made up of retail prescription drug is similar to what it was in 2009, CMS said.

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