U.S. healthcare spending has stayed at its record-low growth for the third consecutive year, according to the annual report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Office of the Actuary.
Healthcare spending grew 3.9 percent in 2011—which is identical to 2009 and 2010. That growth rate is the lowest in the 52 years since healthcare costs have been tracked. National spending on prescription drugs and physician services grew faster in 2011 than the previous year, but hospital care grew more slowly.
Spending kept pace with the overall economy’s growth, meaning that healthcare has comprised 17.9 percent of the economy for three straight years. Federal officials said the Affordable Care Act had no discernible impact on spending growth.