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U.S. Health Spending Hits $1.6 Trillion

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WASHINGTON, Jan 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Healthcare spending in the United States reached $1.6 trillion in 2002, the government said Thursday, a growth rate of 9.3 percent.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issues this annual report, which showed 2002 spending -- the most recent yearly statistics available -- surpassed the $1.4 trillion spent in 2001.

It is the sixth year in a row in which health spending grew at an accelerated rate and the growth is 5.7 percentage points faster than the growth of the economy overall.

Health spending per person averaged $5,440, up $419 from the 2001 rate.

Prescription drug costs continued to lead the spending increase, rising by 15.3 percent.

Hospital expenditures were up for the fourth consecutive year, increasing by 9.5 percent and spending on physician services was up 7.2 percent.

Private payers funded more than half of the national expenditures with the public sector -- Medicare and Medicaid -- accounting for 46 percent of health payments.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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