Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) — Health care costs grew 3.6 percent to $2.9 trillion in 2013, the smallest jump in more than 50 years and one that probably won't be matched soon as spending accelerates to meet the needs of millions gaining insurance under Obamacare.

The nation has experienced unusually low health care spending growth five years in a row as the 2009 recession and the slow economic recovery caused Americans to scale back their use of hospitals and other medical services, actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said today in a report published by the journal Health Affairs.

In a sign of things to come, spending by Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, defied the trend and grew by about 6.1 percent in 2013 to $449 billion. Six states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid coverage beginning in 2012, and enrollment increased 2.7 percent last year, the actuaries said.

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