Report: Health spending to resume upward trend

Sunday, February 25, 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. healthcare spending will comprise nearly 20% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 compared to 16% in 2006, CMS economists forecast in a report released Feb. 21.

That represents a dollar increase of $2 trillion--from $2.1 trillion to $4.1 trillion.

"The health share of GDP is expected to hold steady in 2006 before resuming its historical upward trend, reaching 19.6% of GDP by 2016," the agency's economists state in the report.

According to the report, which was published online in the journal Health Affairs: Healthcare costs will consume nearly 20 cents of every dollar we spend in 2016 compared to 16 cents this year.

Additionally, federal, state and local government will pay nearly half the bill for health care by 2016, putting more pressure on Congress to curb spending, the report states.

The report doesn't include policy recommendations, but the economists warn of "the possibility that we will have to make important sacrifices to pay for health care" and the need for "constant assessment of the value we associate with our healthcare investment."