While this could have been included as part of Linky Friday, it probably deserves standalone recognition:
U.S. healthcare spending apparently grew more slowly last year than at any time in the past half-century—including the Great Recession—as Medicare squeezed outlays, millions of Americans continued to go without health insurance and those with health plans spent at a slower pace on hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
The nation spent $2.9 trillion on healthcare last year, an increase of 3.6% from the prior year and the weakest growth since 1960, after federal actuaries and economists revised recent estimates. That spending remained weak in 2013 was not surprising: U.S. health spending growth fell below 4% in 2009 with the recession that stripped private health insurance from millions of individuals. But newly revised numbers show an acceleration in 2012 to 4.1% before a slump last year.
The slump is not expected to last with the start in January of health reform’s push to reduce the number of uninsured, some contend. Indicators of spending so far this year are mixed, however. Major hospital chains have reported fewer uninsured and healthier margins, particularly in states that expanded Medicaid. But quarterly national estimates put health spending growth below 4%.
Also, Moody’s has released it’s 2015 Outlook for the not-for-profit hospital sector. The report is available only to subscribers, but a summary can be found here:
The outlook for the US not-for-profit healthcare industry in 2015 remains negative as financial and business fundamentals will remain weak over the next 12 -18 months, says Moody’s Investors Service. Growth in operating cash flow will be weak, operating margins will continue to narrow, and revenue growth will remain limited, says Moody’s in “2015 Outlook- US Not-for-Profit Healthcare — Cash Flow Settling into Low Level of Growth Amid Negative Outlook.”
Call it an open thread. My thoughts on these issues can’t be boiled down to bumper sticker slogans, but I’ll try to share them as conversations arise in the comments section. I’m a too busy for a full-length analysis of the subject.
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