Tuesday, January 07, 2014 Health Care Spending Growth Low Again The residual impacts of the economic recession are the primary drivers behind relatively low growth in US health care spending in 2012, according to a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The report cites a 3.7% growth in overall spending during the year, with a slight drop in the overall portion of the economy devoted to health care, from 17.3% in 2011 to 17.2% the following year. The report from the CMS Office of Actuary (abstract only available for free) states that while faster spending growth occurred in hospital, physician, and clinical services, overall growth was tempered by slower rates in prescription drugs and nursing home services. Private insurance spending growth also remained low due to the slow economic recovery, according to report's authors. The 3.7% growth rate is consistent with trends that began in 2009, and have fluctuated between 3.6% and 3.8% annually since.