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U.S. Health Costs Will Continue to Cause Financial Pain

Medical services expected to take up more of the American economy in the future, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Spending on health care is growing so fast that it will devour much more of the American economy in the future and take even larger chunks out of personal income, a new study warns.

Even if spending stops growing so much, it will account for more than half of the increases in the salary that Americans will make over the next 75 years, according to researchers at Harvard University and the University of Michigan.

"These projections make the impact of health care spending more dire," the authors of the study wrote in the September/October issue of Health Affairs.

The study, an update of previous work published in 2003, projects health spending through the year 2083. The researchers estimate that devoting more than half of future personal income growth to health care is "affordable," even though it's not ideal and would pose major challenges for the United States.

The researchers predict that state governments will need to further cut back on education and welfare to pay for health care, and families will also have to cut their own budgets in order to pay for medical services.

In another study in the same issue of Health Affairs, economists estimate that medical technology accounted for between 27 percent and 48 percent of the growth in health spending since 1960, which is less than previous estimates.

More information

To get the U.S. government's take on health care reform, visit

SOURCE: Health Affairs, news release, Sept. 9, 2009
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