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Health Care Spending Hits $1.7 Trillion in 2003 in US

According to a February 11, 2004 Associated Press story, health care spending in the United States grew to an estimated $1.7 trillion in 2003. This represents more than $5,800 for each American. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that this expenditure represents more than 15% of the gross domestic product of the United States.

The rate of increase of health care spending was 7.8% above the previous year. This figure continues to place healthcare spending increases far in front of the rest of the US economy. The article continued to note that health care spending, is projected to outpace increase in the rest of the economy for the next decade. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also estimated that by 2013, annual spending on health is anticipated to reach $3.4 trillion and be more than 18 percent of gross domestic product. These projections failed to include the anticipated increases from the new Medicare prescription drug law, which will offer seniors prescription drug coverage starting in 2006. However, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials said they expect a shift in who pays prescription drug bills instead of a significant increase in spending on drugs. It has been noted that the increase in spending on prescription drugs continues to outpace the rest of health care for the next decade. The report published in the January / February 2004 Issue of the Health Affairs, the number one cited health policy journal devoted to publishing original peer-reviewed research and commentary, reported that private health insurance premiums per enrollee grew 10.4 percent in 2003, the third consecutive year of double-digit premium growth.

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