U.S. health care spending growth slowed in 2008 to 4.4 percent – the slowest rate of growth over the past 48 years, according to an annual government report prepared by CMS. Although the 4.4 percent growth was down from 6.0 percent in 2007, the share of gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to health care increased from 15.9 percent in 2007 to 16.2 percent in 2008. National health spending reached $2.3 trillion (or $7,681 per person) in 2008, the report said.

The report also found that:

  • Spending in 2008 for health services and supplies grew by 10.4 percent, accounting for the largest share of total health care spending since 1987.
  • Spending in 2008 by state and local governments increased by 3.4 percent, accounting for 24 percent of state and local revenues, which was unchanged from 2007.
  • Health care spending by private businesses increased by 1.2 percent in 2008, partly because of an increase in the share of insurance premiums paid by employers. Meanwhile, private health insurance premiums and benefits grew in 2008 at their slowest rate since 1967, 3.1 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Total spending on Medicare in 2008 increased by 8.6 percent to $469 billion, based in part on a jump in Medicare Advantage plan enrollees. Spending on MA plans increased by 21 percent to $108 billion.