Health care spending in the United States saw its fastest increase since the recession, according to a report released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
With more Americans purchasing insurance coverage due to wider Medicaid eligibility, total spending on health care rose to $3.2 trillion last year.
Over the last 55 years, the largest increases in health spending’s share of the economy have typically occurred around periods of economic recession. The 2014 and 2015 increases occurred more than five years after the last recession ended. But they coincided with 9.7 million individuals gaining private health insurance coverage and 10.3 million more people enrolling in Medicaid.
Further, the rise in spending can also be partly attributed to an increase in spending on prescription drugs. This includes the production of new drugs for specialized disease treatment, which grew 9% last year.