ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
CANCER
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Add your Article

Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Although millions of Americans have lost their jobs -- and their health insurance -- during the current recession, health care spending in the United States is expected to have its largest single-year increase in 2009.

That's the surprising conclusion of a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

"Private spending [spending by private health insurance] is expected to slow in 2008-2009 to a 15-year low due to the impact of the recession" as more people lose their jobs and with them, their employer-based health insurance, CMS economist Andrea Sisko, one of the authors of the government report, said during a Monday teleconference. "Conversely, public spending growth is expected to accelerate through 2009, in part, due to increased Medicaid enrollment and expenditures, something that is typically seen in a recession."

Sisko noted the projections did not take into account the recently enacted $787 billion stimulus package or the 2010 federal budget proposal, to be unveiled Thursday by President Barack Obama, or any health care reforms that might be proposed by the new administration.

The report by economists from CMS, titled Health Spending Projections Through 2018: Recession Effects Add Uncertainty To The Outlook, was published in the Feb. 24 online edition of Health Affairs.

The release of the CMS report comes on the same day as a new report from the U.S. Institute of Medicine that calls for President Barack Obama and Congress to come up with solutions for the 45.7 million Americans not covered by health insurance and to find ways to stem the tide of growing health care costs.

And in a televised address Tuesday night, Obama plans to outline his goals for his first year in office, including his pledge to reform health care. The White House says the President believes that out-of-control costs are the main obstacle to providing insurance coverage for all.

The new CMS report seeks to project health care spending for the next 10 years.

For instance, by 2018 health care spending is projected to reach $4.4 trillion -- accounting for 20.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). In 2008, health care spending reached 16.6 percent of GDP. In 2009, health care's share of GDP is expected to reach 17.6 percent of GDP, the largest one-year increase ever seen, the report said.

As spending by private health care insurance reaches a 15-year low as more people lose their jobs, spending by the federal and state governments is expected to grow from $1 trillion in 2008 to $1.2 trillion in 2009, an increase of 7.4 percent. This growth is being fueled by more people losing their jobs and then electing to sign up for Medicaid, the report authors said.

Once the recession starts to ease next year, there should be an upturn in both private and public health care spending, according to the report. Starting in 2010, private health care spending is expected to rise by 4.2 percent and increase to 6.1 percent in 2018, Sisko said.

Among the report's highlights:

* Medicare spending grew 8.1 percent from 2007 to 2008, driven largely by growth in prescription drug spending as well as hospital, doctor and administrative costs.
* In the near term, spending on prescription drugs is expected to slow, but then double between 2014 and 2018.
* The recession is expected to slow the growth of out-of-pocket spending by consumers, a trend typically seen during an economic downturn. Also, growing Medicaid rolls will reduce out-of-pocket spending since these out-of-pocket costs are typically lower for Medicaid recipients.
* Public spending is expected to rise as more baby boomers enroll in Medicare. That growth in public health care spending is projected to reach 7.2 percent a year by 2018 and account for more than half of all health care spending.
* Nursing home spending is expected to increase to a 6.6 percent annual rate by 2018 as more people enroll in Medicare and Medicaid.

One expert thinks the CMS report reflects the true impact of the recession on health care.

"This just shows you that hard times affect people's ability to obtain health care," said Paul Precht, director for policy and communications at the Medicare Rights Center. "If it weren't for Medicaid, it would be a lot worse."

An estimated 14,000 Americans are losing their health insurance each day during the recession. In response, the Institute of Medicine report, America's Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care, urges President Obama and Congress to immediately put into place programs to achieve health coverage for all Americans. The report also said costs need to be controlled to ensure that health care is affordable for everyone.

"Policymakers and the public can no longer presume that those without health insurance are getting the care they need through safety-net services such as charity care and emergency departments," Institute of Medicine Committee Chairman Lawrence S. Lewin, an executive consultant in health care policy and management, said in a statement. "The evidence clearly shows that lack of health insurance is hazardous to one's health, and the situation is getting worse because of the erosion of employment-based health coverage due to the current economic crisis. The nation must act now to solve the uninsurance problem."

More information

To read the full CMS report, visit Health Affairs.



SOURCES: Paul Precht, director, policy and communications, Medicare Rights Center, Washington, D.C.; Feb. 23, 2009, teleconference with Andrea Sisko, economist, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Baltimore; Feb. 24, 2009, Health Affairs; Feb. 24, 2009, Institute of Medicine, America's Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care

Last Updated: Feb. 24, 2009

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