Growth In June Health Spending Falls Below 4 Percent
National health expenditures in June 2012 grew by 3.9 percent relative to June 2011, down from the 4.2 percent growth rate observed in May, after incorporating the effects of major government updates. Annual revisions in government data show growth in spending from 2010 to 2011 at 5.2 percent versus the previous estimate of 4.3 percent.
Health care prices in June 2012 were up 1.9 percent from June 2011, down a tenth from May. On a 12-month moving average basis, price growth is lower now than at any time since January 1999.
These data come from the August Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs released by Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. The briefs, covering health care spending, utilization, prices, and employment, are at www.altarum.org/healthindicators.
A rise in July of 12,000 health sector jobs represents the second month of below average gains, following June growth of 13,000, both well below the 24-month average of 24,000. With total nonfarm payroll job growth at 163,000 for July, the health care share of total employment was fractionally lower than the all-time high of 10.8 percent recorded for June.
"Slow growth in June health spending continues the moderate growth experienced in the previous five months of 2012 and takes some edge off of the revised spending growth rate for 2011," said Charles Roehrig, director of the center. "We are investigating excess health spending over a 20-year period to determine the factors behind these variations and to better understand the extent to which the bending of the cost curve, which we place in 2005, is continuing and sustainable over time."
The health spending share of GDP was 18.1 percent in June 2012, down from the (revised) all-time high of 18.3 percent in June 2011. Per capita health care utilization grew at 1.2 percent year over year in June, averaging 1.8 percent growth for the last 12 months and 1.6 percent growth over the last six months.