Health spending hits record low, HCFA says

The Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) press office has recently reported that health care spending increased by 4.4% in 1996, which turns out to be the lowest rate in 37 years. The report also says that public sector health care spending growth has also slowed. Medicare outlays increased in 1996 by 8.1%, down from 10.6% in 1995. Changes being implemented through the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 should slow Medicare growth even further. HCFA actuaries who wrote the report project that Medicare spending growth per enrollee should drop from the 1996 rate of 6.5% to 2.5% in 1998. n