National Health Care Spending In 2016 Spending And Enrollment Growth Slow After Initial Coverage Expansions
Author: Micah Hartman, Anne B. Martin, Nathan Espinosa, Aaron Catlin, The National Health Expenditure Accounts Team
Total nominal US health care spending increased 4.3 percent and reached $3.3 trillion in 2016. Per capita spending on health care increased by $354, reaching $10,348. The share of gross domestic product devoted to health care spending was 17.9 percent in 2016, up from 17.7 percent in 2015. Health spending growth decelerated in 2016 following faster growth in 2014 and 2015 associated with coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and strong retail prescription drug spending growth. In 2016 the slowdown was broadly based, as spending for the largest categories by payer and by service decelerated. Enrollment trends drove the slowdown in Medicaid and private health insurance spending growth in 2016, while slower per enrollee spending growth influenced Medicare spending. Furthermore, spending for retail prescription drugs slowed, partly as a result of lower spending for drugs used to treat hepatitis C, while slower use and intensity of services drove the slowdown in hospital care and physician and clinical services.