Health spending now tops $2.7 trillion

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Healthcare spending totaled $2.7 trillion in 2011 and accounted for 17.9% of the nation's gross domestic product, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Health outlays rose by 3.9% in 2011, which was identical to the increases seen in both 2010 and 2009. Medicare spending grew by 6.2%. The Medicare hike was attributed to three factors: a one-time increase in spending for skilled nursing facilities; faster growth in spending for physician services under fee-for-service Medicare; and Medicare Advantage spending. On a per-person basis, healthcare spending in 2011 reached $8,680. A full update appears in the journal Health Affairs.