Soaring Medical Costs: New Numbers, Same Story

Recession or no recession, the nation's health care bill keeps growing. The Health Care Financing Administration estimates that total health care spending rose by 10.5% last year for the third year in a row, hitting $666.2 billion, or 12.2% of gross national product-an all-time record. It also reports that about three-quarters of the rise in per-capita health expenditures, from $1,063 in 1980 to $2,566 in 1990, reflected inflation rather than increases in the volume or quality of services. Over the past decade, health care prices have jumped about 50% faster than overall inflation.

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