September Medical Inflation the Fifth Straight Month Below 4 Percent

National health expenditures in September 2012 grew by 3.7 percent relative to September 2011, according to the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending.

The rate was down  .1 percent  from the August rate, and represented the fifth consecutive month of below 4 percent growth. At 4 percent, the average monthly rate of growth in spending, year-to-date is barely above the record low rate of 3.8 percent in 2009.

Health care prices in September 2012 were only 1.9 percent above September 2011, the lowest reading in more than 14 years. Hospital price growth dropped to 2.4 percent in September after an unusual spike in August.

The latest health employment data show 31,000 health sector jobs added in October 2012 which, combined with a revised total of 37,000 new jobs in September, produce an average growth of 34,000 for the two most recent months, well above the 24-month average of 25,000.


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