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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's in a Number??

Health Train Express January 5 2009

In which direction are we headed?  The WSJ reported that health care spending growth had diminished to 4.2%  in 2008.  the slowest rate of growth over the past forty-eight years.
Despite the slowdown, national health spending reached $2.3 trillion, or $7,681 per person, and the health care portion of gross domestic product (GDP) grew from 15.9 percent in 2007 to 16.2 percent in 2008. These developments reflect the general pattern that larger increases in the health spending share of GDP generally occur during or just after periods of economic recession.
This makes logical sense, since health needs never go into a recession….they continue no matter what the economy is. If the general economy outside of medicine contracts then health care expenses would represent a greater portion of the GDP.  What is critical here is that for the first time in 48 years the growth rate diminished from near  16.2% to 4.2%.  Let’s see how that sounds on  CNN, MSNBC and/or FOX News.

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