Jan 5, 2010 9:58 AM by Associated Press

US health spending grew to $2.3 trillion in 2008

A new federal analysis says the recession dramatically slowed U.S. health care spending in 2008.

But, it still grew at a faster pace than the economy as a whole, accounting for more than 16.2 percent of the nation's economic output, up from 15.9 percent in 2007.

Economists at the government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says spending totaled $2.3 trillion in 2008 -- nearly $7,700 per person.

A top official at the center says health care spending as a portion of the overall economy is "rising at an unsustainable rate." He says the report, which appears in the journal Health Affairs, means the U.S. needs a health care overhaul.

Health care experts, however, question whether Democratic overhaul bills will do enough to contain costs. GOP Rep. Dave Camp says the legislation would just make the problem worse.


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