January 1, 2007
Stephen C. Schoenbaum, Alyssa L. Holmgren, Karen Davis
S. C. Schoenbaum, K. Davis, and A. L. Holmgren, Health Care Spending: An Encouraging Sign?, The Commonwealth Fund, January 2007
A federal report on national health care spending in 2005, published in Health Affairs,
indicates that spending slowed for a third straight year and, as a percentage of gross domestic product, held nearly constant from 2004 to 2005. Though the news is encouraging, spending growth in 2005—6.9 percent—continued to outpace inflation and growth in wages for the average U.S. worker. Clearly, rising health care costs continue to be a major concern. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System has stated that the nation must strive to achieve greater value while simultaneously decreasing the rate of growth of health spending. Among the steps that could achieve these goals are: increasing transparency and public reporting of cost and quality information, rewarding quality and efficiency, and expanding the use of information technology and systems of health information exchange.You can find associated charts for this publication in Chart Cart. Also check out our two prior Data Briefs, "Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Priorities for the New Congress" and "The National Committee for Quality Assurance's The State of Health Care Quality 2006."