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Health spending may be leveling off

National Journal, July 18, 2011

Healthcare spending may be leveling off – it grew at an annual rate of only 4.7% in the first four months of 2011, according to the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. That compares to 3.9% annual growth in 2010, and is likely up as more people make use of healthcare services. The nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization said health care price inflation has actually slowed in recent months. "The uptick in the spending growth rate through April is not large enough to be a major concern," Charles Roehrig, who directs the center, said in a statement. "The low growth in health employment in May and June would, if anything, suggest a leveling off in spending in the next few months. Any sharper increase in spending in the next several months would, of course, be a cause for renewed concern and warrant a detailed look at the underlying drivers."