Support Marketplace

The recession's impact on health care spending

A doctor speaks with a woman as he examines her at a health center in Pompano Beach, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: As the new Congress gets to work in Washington, here's something both sides can agree on: it would be nice to reduce health care spending. But perhaps not this way. The journal "Health Affairs" is reporting today that the recession had a major impact on health care spending because of lost insurance and missed care.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer has the details.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Health care spending still rose in 2009, but at the lowest rate in five decades.

Anne Martin: The recession had a profound impact.

Anne Martin is an economist with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the report's lead author. She says, remember what was happening in 2009: people were losing their jobs, and health insurance.

Martin: People stopped going to the doctors and delayed their medical care.

A big reason spending rose at all? The government paid for more care. Medicaid spending almost doubled. Austin Frakt is a health economist at Boston University. He says private sector health care spending will rebound in the next few years, as people find new jobs with health insurance.

Austin Frakt: People want to buy health services. If they're covered for it, they're going to use more.

Frakt says there's a lot of pent-up demand for things like knee surgery. Care people put off until their financial health improved.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...