National health spending in June 2012 increased 3.9 percent in comparison to June 2011, which is a decrease from May’s 4.2 percent growth rate, according to data from the August Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending.
Based on annual revisions in government data, spending growth from 2010 to 2011 is at 5.2 percent as opposed to the earlier estimate of 4.3 percent. While health care prices in June 2012 were up 1.9 percent from June 2011, they were down a tenth from May, and on a 12-month moving average scale, price growth has dipped lower than at any time since January 1999.
Following an increase in July of 12,000 health-sector jobs, it is the second month of below-average gains as June only gained 13,000 jobs, which are both below the 24-month average of 24,000 jobs. As the total of nonfarm payroll job growth hit 163,000 for July, the health care share of total employment was slightly lower than the record high of 10.8 percent in June.
“Slow growth in June health spending continues the moderate growth experienced in the previous five months of 2012 and takes some edge off of the revised spending growth rate for 2011,” says Charles Roehrig, director of the center. “We are investigating excess health spending over a 20-year period to determine the factors behind these variations and to better understand the extent to which the bending of the cost curve, which we place in 2005, is continuing and sustainable over time.”
The health spending share of the gross domestic product dropped to 18.1 percent in June 2012 after reaching a record high of 18.3 percent in June 2011. Per capita health care utilization increased 1.2 percent from June 2011 to June 2012 while, averaging 1.8 percent growth for the last 12 months and 1.6 percent growth over the last six months.