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Healthcare Spending Exhibits Surprisingly Low Growth

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2013

This week's news that healthcare spending by consumers continues to grow at historically low rates is likely to continue according to the PwC Health Research Institute.

This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its analysis of a report showing a 3.9% rate of healthcare spending growth in 2011. That's the lowest rate of growth recorded.

On the HHS blog, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services marked the milestone by noting, "That's the same rate of growth as in 2009 and 2010, and in all three years spending grew more slowly than in any other year in the 51-year history of the report."

Sebelius also went on to write that provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) could help continue the slow growth trend, but Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC Health Research Institute, says healthcare spending is down because of the recession and the subsequent weak recovery from the recession. 

While such a cause and effect relationship may be reversed as the economy gets stronger, changes in consumer behavior over  the last few years are likely to be more entrenched and part of the so-called 'new normal,' says Connolly.

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