About that plan to cut health care costs

Ali Meyer of the Washington Free Beacon delivers some bad news about U.S. health care spending.

Health care spending in the United States grew 5.8 percent in 2015, hitting a record high of $3.2 trillion, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Last year, health care spending in the United States totaled $3 trillion—or $9,523 a person. This year, per-person expenditures went up to $9,990.

“The faster growth in 2014 and 2015 occurred as the Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance coverage for individuals through Marketplace health insurance plans and the Medicaid program,” the report said.

The federal government is the biggest driver of health care spending and in 2015, 29 percent of the nation’s health care bill was due to the feds.

“Federal government spending on health increased 8.9 percent in 2015 after growing 11.0 percent in 2014, and outpaced all other sponsors of health care in both years,” the report said. “In 2015, the federal government was the largest sponsor of health care at 29 percent, up from 28 percent in 2014 and 26 percent in 2013.”

More than a third of total health care spending in 2015 was due to Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare cost the federal government $646.2 billion and Medicaid cost $545.1 billion, for a combined total of $1.2 trillion. Private health insurance spending totaled $1.1 trillion in 2015.

After the federal government, households were responsible for the next largest share of health care spending. These individuals spent the most on out-of-pocket spending that went to copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. Total out-of-pocket spending in 2015 hit $338.1 billion and increased by 2.6 percent this year.

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