Analysis: Government pay to nursing homes grew 1% in 2003

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Medicaid payments to nursing homes grew just 1% in 2003, to $51 billion, following an increase of 8.1% in 2002, according to a report in The New York Times.

Also, Medicare payments to nursing homes increased only 1.3% in 2003, following three years of rapid growth that averaged 16.2% a year between 1999 and 2002.

Spending on U.S. healthcare overall expanded by 7.7% in 2003 to $1.7 trillion. That represents a slowdown from the 9.3% rise the year before and is partly due to a slower increase in drug spending and state cutbacks to Medicaid. Medicaid spending rose 7.1% in 2003, to $267 billion, following growth of 12.1% the year before.

Total health spending still accounts for 15.3% of the nation's gross domestic product and grew faster than the economy as a whole.