Health Spending Continues to Decline

Healthcare costs are projected to decline again this year. If the projection holds true it would mark the fourth consecutive year in which healthcare spending has declined.

Healthcare costs are projected to decline again this year. If the projection holds true it would mark the fourth consecutive year in which healthcare spending has declined.

This data comes from the “June 2012 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs” released by the Altarum Institute, which covers healthcare spending, utilization, prices, and employment. In contrast, healthcare employment actually increased by 33,000 jobs in May 2012, marking a sharp increase compared to the 24-month average of 25,000.

Although the trend is encouraging, analysts are cautioning not to celebrate just yet. “We don't know the cause of this decline, and health job growth is at odds with the low spending,” said Dr. Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending. “Something's got to give—either spending grows, job growth slows, or wages in the health industry decline.”