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U.S. healthcare spending to surge in 2014; overall spending to rise with or without the ACA, journal reports

June 14, 2012
by pamela tabar
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Economic forecasts for 2012-2021 predict national healthcare expenditures will grow relatively slowly for the next two years, then spike in 2014, then return to modest growth patterns, according to a Health Affairs journal article released today.

Overall healthcare spending will grow through 2020 even if parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are struck down by the Supreme Court, according to the report.

Healthcare spending, which comprised 17.9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, is expected to rise to 19.6 percent by 2021. Prescription drug spending will be rather slow in 2012 and 2013, due mainly to the expiration of name-brand drug patents and an overall shift to generic medications, the report predicts. In theory, the prescription-based portion of healthcare expenditures should be held to modest growth by the increasing use of generic-drug-based formularies—generic drugs are expected to comprise 85 percent of the nation’s prescriptions by 2021.

The odd-duck year will be 2014, when 22 million more Americans will be eligible for new or additional coverage under the expansions provided in the ACA. Prescription drug spending also is expected to surge to 8.5 percent during 2014; the report attributes the ACA for 3.2 percent of that increase.

To learn more, read the Health Affairs journal report.

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