US healthcare spending jumps past $3 trillion under ObamaCare

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Healthcare spending rose to more than $3 trillion in the United States last year, jumping by 5.3 percent and marking the largest increase since 2007 as millions of people gained coverage under ObamaCare.

Medicaid spending alone increased at a rate of 11 percent, nearly twice its growth rate the previous year, as millions of people were added to its rolls. Spending on private health insurance increased 4.4 percent, compared to 1.6 percent before the marketplace was launched.

The rising cost of prescription drugs is also taking a toll: The total spending on prescription drugs increase by 12.2 percent last year.

Health officials say the hike was largely driven by the flow of customers into the healthcare law's new marketplaces in 2014.

Still, the Obama administration touted the figures as evidence that the healthcare law is helping to rein in controls.

“Millions of uninsured Americans gained health care coverage in 2014,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt wrote in a statement. “And still, the rate of growth remains below the level in most years prior to the coverage expansion, while out-of-pocket costs grew at the fifth-lowest level on record.”

The drop in the country’s uninsured rate was nearly unprecedented in 2014, with the number of uninsured people declining by nearly 20 percent. A total of 88.8 percent of people were insured by the end of 2014 — the highest share since 1987, according to CMS.

The report, produced annually by CMS actuaries, highlights the rate of growth, which it says is “below most years” before the passage of ObamaCare.

Health officials also point to the relatively flat increase in customers' out-of-pocket spending — the amount of money spent other than deductibles and premiums. Out-of-pocket spending grew by only 1.3 percent last year, compared to 2.4 percent the previous year, as more people gained coverage, CMS wrote.

The report specifically cites a new drug to treat Hepatitis C with a sticker price that has drained state budgets.