While this might look like scary growth in spending, it's less than during some past times, says Gigi Cuckler, an economist who helped prepare the report. "It's slower than what we have observed over the longer term history," Cuckler told reporters. In 1990, health spending ballooned by just under 12 percent and it grew by 7.4 percent per year on average from 1990 to 2007, she said.
Overall, Americans spent $2.8 trillion on health services last year, according to the CMS report, published in the journal Health Affairs. That includes spending by individuals, businesses, the federal government and state and local governments.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, will add just 0.1 percent to health spending a year. But that adds up to $621 billion over 10 years, the CMS actuaries calculate. They say it's too soon to say whether the reforms enacted by Congress as part of the law will affect health spending much. Right now, they say, it's pretty closely linked to bigger economic cycles.
By 2022, Americans will be spending more than $5 trillion on health care, half of that paid for by federal, state and local government. Currently, government health spending makes up 4.6 percent of GDP.
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Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that would almost double by 2038, to 8 percent of GDP. Total spending on health was 16.4 percent of GDP in 2011, the CBO says; those are the latest figures available.
Spending on prescription drugs has actually fallen, the report finds, by just under 1 percent in 2012. This is partly because several name brand drugs went generic. But expect those costs to go up. "From 2015 to 2022, projected annual average growth in prescription drug spending will be 6.5 percent as increases in insurance coverage and disposable income enable more consumers to fill prescriptions," CMS said in a separate statement.
Americans spent more out of pocket on health care, on hospitals and on doctors, but the growth in spending in all these areas slowed, the report finds.
—By Maggie Fox of NBC News