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US Health Spending Reaches a Sixth of Gross Domestic Product

Total spending on health care in the United States grew by 7.9% in 2004 and now accounts for 16% of the gross domestic product, says the National Health Statistics Group of the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Total health spending in the US in 2004 was $6280 per person, or a total for the population of nearly 300 million of around $1.9 trillion. The increase is largely due to new medical treatments, rising prices, and greater use of services, the report says. "Medical spending continues to rise faster than wages and faster than economic growth, and workers are paying much more in health care premiums than just a few years ago," it says. Other industrialized countries spend about 8% of their gross domestic product on health.

Source: BMJ. 2006; 332: 198.