Weekly Checkup

Health Care Spending in 2015

The Office of the Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new health expenditure data last week. The data, published in Health Affairs, shows total health care spending in the U. S. amounted to $3.2 trillion in 2015, up 5.8 percent from the previous year. Spending on Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance totals continues to grow at a steady rate. Medicaid spending increased 9.7 percent to $545.1 billion. Spending per enrollee is back up to 3.8 percent after dipping to .4 percent in 2014. This rebound in growth comes after last year’s Medicaid expansion brought per enrollee spending down dramatically. Medicare expenditure per enrollee increased slightly from 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent. Total Medicare expenditure has increased to $646.2 billion. In addition, private health insurance expenditure growth per enrollee increased by 4.5 percent in 2015. Americans spent nearly $1.1 trillion on private health insurance in 2015. This data helps explain why health care spending is now 17.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product , and refutes the Obama Administration’s claims that the Affordable Care Act resulted in a permanent slowdown in the growth of health care spending.