Health care devoured a huge share of total U.S. national income in 2011, but no more than it ate up in 2009 and 2010.
Micah Hartman and other researchers in the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have reported that finding in the latest National Health Expenditure Accounts report.
Total U.S. national health expenditures increased 3.9% between 2010 and 2011, to $2.7 trillion.
Health expenditures consumed 17.9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), or national income, in 2011. The GDP share figure was the same as in 2009 and 2010.
The 3.9 percent rate of growth in the dollar value of U.S. health care spending was also the same as in 2009 and 2010. For the past three years, health care spending has been growing at the lowest rate that government statisticians have recorded since they began keeping track of the figures 52 years ago.
The rate of growth in spending on nursing home care and other facility-based care increased to 4.5 percent, from 3.2 percent, but the rate of growth in spending on home health care fell to 4.5 percent, from 5.8 percent.
In the acute care sector, the rate of growth in spending on physician services increased to 4.2 percent, from 3.2 percent, but the rate of growth in spending on hospital care fell to 4.3 percent, from 4.9 percent.
The rate of growth in spending on research plummeted, to 1.7 percent, from 8.2 percent.