(HealthDay News) — In 2013, U.S. healthcare spending increased 3.6%, and the health care spending share of the gross domestic product remained stable, according to a report published online December 3 in Health Affairs.

Micah Hartman, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Baltimore, and colleagues examined national health spending in 2013.

The researchers found that health care spending in the United States increased 3.6% to $2.9 trillion in 2013, representing $9,255 per person. Since 2009, the share of gross domestic product devoted to health care remained consistent at 17.4%. Compared with 2012, there was a 0.5% point decrease in health care spending in 2013, resulting from slower growth in private health insurance and Medicare spending. The low overall increase was also due to slower growth in spending for hospital care, investments in medical structures and equipment, and spending for physician and clinical care.

“During the past five years, health care spending grew at historically low rates, between 3.6% and 4.1% each year,” the authors write. “The key question is whether health spending growth will accelerate once economic conditions improve significantly.”

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