U.S. health care spending increased 7.9% in 2004 to nearly $1.9 trillion, outpacing inflation and wage growth and amounting to a record 16% of the nation's gross domestic product, according to an annual CMS report published in the January/February issue of Health Affairs, the Miami Herald reports. The combined health care spending by consumers, businesses and government totaled $6,280 per person in 2004, compared with $5,670 in 2003 (Pugh, Miami Herald, 1/10). The rate of growth in health care spending was the lowest since 2000's spending increase of 6.3%.
Spending on home health services for the elderly and disabled, "while only a small portion of overall spending," increased more than any other category, up 13.3% in 2004, the Herald reports (Miami Herald, 1/10). The increase was 11.1% in 2003. Spending for home care totaled $43.2 billion in 2004. Medicare spending for home care increased by 19.3% in 2004.
Source: Miami Herald