2014 US health spending grew at fastest rate of Obama years

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government report says U.S. health care spending last year grew at the fastest pace since President Barack Obama took office, driven by expanded coverage under his namesake law and zooming prescription drug costs.

After five years of historically low growth, national health expenditures increased by 5.3 percent in 2014, reaching $3 trillion, or $9,523 for every man, woman and child.

Wednesday's report by nonpartisan economic experts at the Department of Health and Human Services also found that health care spending grew faster than the overall economy, renewing concerns about affordability.

The numbers may mean the end of an unusually long lull in health care inflation that has benefited the Obama administration. While the president's health care law has increased coverage, the cost problem doesn't appear to be solved.

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