Healthcare cost rises to almost trillion
U.S. spending on healthcare peaked at nearly 2 trillion dollars in 2005. The annual report from the National Health Statistics group was released on Tuesday, and stated the main culprits responsible for the increased healthcare cost include doctor’s fees, prescription drugs, and hospital fees.
Healthcare spending rose from 1.86 to 1.99 trillion growing at a 1% slower pace that the previous year. M&C news reported, “Leading the increase were hospital services, which grew 7.9 percent to 1.6 billion and accounted for 31 percent of all U.S. health care dollars in 2005. Rising labor costs amid a sustained worker shortage were major factors, according to the report, one of the most comprehensive available. Doctor and clinical services rose 7 percent to 1.1 billion, while nursing home and related care went up 6 percent to 1.9 billion.”
Prescription drug spending increased to 200.7 billion but was slowed by less use of pain relievers like Merck’s blockbuster drug Vioxx that was removed from the market. Although spending on some medication was slowed, according to M&C, “medication costs contributed largely to the growing share of costs for those covered by private health insurance plans in 2005, the report said. At the same time, brand name prescription drug prices raised an average of 6 percent. Even as the rate of growth for insurance plan premiums slowed, findings showed consumer out-of-pocket spending rose amid growing drug costs, followed by doctor and dental services.”
Although it made up just 1.2% of total healthcare spending, the cost of prescription drugs under the program raised the most, 19.2%. These totals included the new Medicare drug cards but excluded the full benefit that began in January of 06.
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