WASHINGTONThe growth in health care spending in the United
States hit a nearly 40-year low in 1997, but the Health Care
Financing Administration (HCFA) predicts a strong growth spurt in the
coming decade. Health care spending reached $1.1 trillion in 1997,
the agency reported, an average per person of just under $4,000, and
will nearly double by 2007, reaching a total of $2.1 trillion.
HCFA also reported a continuing closure in the percentage between
private and public health care spending. Private payments accounted
for 53.6% of the nations health care spending in 1997 and
public sources paid for 46.4%. The private-public gap in 1990 stood
at 59% vs 40.5%. The major factor in slowing health care spending has
been a rapidly falling growth in private spending, HCFA said.