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.