Hospital, Insurer Earnings Show Mixed Messages About Health Spending

Analysts who fear health spending is accelerating got plenty of evidence in Wall Street's second-quarter results to support their thesis. But so did folks who hope spending is still under control.

Analysts who fear health spending is accelerating got plenty of evidence in Wall Street's second-quarter results to support their thesis. But so did folks who hope spending is still under control.

Now everybody's trying to sort out the mixed message.

The answer matters because deficit debates and affordability concerns revolve around forecasts that health spending will speed up as the economy revives. If it doesn't, the future looks better for consumers, employers and taxpayers.

To hear hospitals tell it -- based on earning reports issued over the last two weeks -- we might be heading back toward the painful, 8 percent spending increases of the early 2000s. (National health spending rose only 3.7 percent in 2012, the most recent year for complete results.)

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Source: Kaiser Health News