Health costs eat into U.S. economy

Feb. 22, 2006 at 4:58 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- By 2015, healthcare costs will hit $4 trillion and account for 20 percent of the U.S. economy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects.

With healthcare spending outstripping the overall economy, the federal agency projects healthcare costs will rise from today's 16.2 percent of the nation's economy and reach $12,320 per person by 2015.

With few cost-containments efforts on the horizon and despite health savings accounts, cost reductions are "likely to be far smaller than that seen from the massive shift toward managed care during the mid-1990s," the report says.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were blamed for a 24.3 percent rise in U.S. healthcare spending in 2005, the report says.

Economist Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change told USA Today that higher medical costs could leave more people without insurance.

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