(Bloomberg) — Spending on health care services increased in the second quarter after falling in the first three months of the year, according to a report from the Census Bureau that the government uses to fine-tune its estimates of economic growth.
Revenue at health care providers unadjusted for seasonal swings or price changes rose 3 percent from the first quarter, today’s quarterly data on service industries showed. Sales were up 3.7 percent from the year before.
The health spending increase may alter economists’ estimates for second-quarter gross domestic product, as they incorporate the new data into their calculations. The economy grew at a 4.2 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department’s second estimate, issued Aug. 28.
“We have more people enrolled in the health care system, so spending should generally be stronger,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research, referring to the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Today’s figures, in addition to other data that have become available since the end of August, will be used to revise growth estimates again in the Commerce Department’s next GDP report, slated for Sept. 26.
The Census Bureau’s previous Quarterly Services Survey showed a decline in spending on health care services, prompting the Commerce Department to revise down its third GDP estimate for the first quarter. The agency lowered its estimate to a decline of 2.9 percent at an annualized rate from a previously reported 1 percent decrease. The final estimate showed the economy shrank 2.1 percent.