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TUESDAY, Jan. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Health care spending in the United States increased 4.6 percent in 2019, which was a similar rate of growth as that seen in 2018, according to a report published online Dec. 16 in Health Affairs.

Anne B. Martin, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Baltimore, and colleagues describe U.S. health care spending in 2019, based on health expenditure data through 2019.

The researchers note that in 2019, health care spending in the United States increased 4.6 percent to reach $3.8 trillion ($11,582 per person), which was similar to the growth rate experienced in 2018 (4.7 percent) and consistent with the 4.5 percent growth rate observed since 2016. In 2019, the share of the gross domestic product devoted to health care spending was stable at 17.7 percent, similar to 17.6 percent for 2018. Faster growth in personal health care spending, including health care goods and services, accounted for 84 percent of total health care spending in 2019 and increased 5.2 percent; the faster growth was driven by accelerated spending growth for hospital care, retail prescription drugs, and physician and clinical services and was offset by a decrease in the net cost of health insurance.

“The full impact of the pandemic on the health care sector is still not known, but it will certainly have profound consequences on the provision and consumption of health care in 2020 and perhaps beyond,” Martin said in a statement.

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