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Growth in Health-Care Costs Slows

June 12, 2003|From Associated Press

Growth in health-care spending slowed for the first time in five years in 2002, but experts say the news isn't a harbinger of a dramatic decline.

Spending on privately insured Americans jumped 9.6% in 2002, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a Washington-based policy research organization. That increase is smaller than the 10% jump in 2001.

Researchers said there was less spending on prescription drugs and more costs were being shifted to consumers.

"It is possible that there may be a future fall but it won't be that much," said Paul Ginsburg, co-author of the study and president of the center.

For the second year in a row, hospital costs were the biggest drivers of growth in spending, accounting for 51%.

Pharmaceutical spending fell for the second year, to 13.2% in 2002 from 13.8%.

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