ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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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