California medical spending grew in 2009, but rate slowed

Californians spent less per person for healthcare in 2009 than residents of all but eight other states. But the total tab is mounting, according to a new report from the California HealthCare Foundation.

Total spending for healthcare in California was $230 billion, nearly triple the level in 1991.

The state’s spending growth rate slowed, however, the report noted: “Since reaching its peak of 9.7% in 2003, the pace of growth in health spending has been decelerating. By 2009, towards the end of the recession, spending grew 4.5%, similar to the U.S. rate of 4.6%, and the slowest pace since 1999.”


The state’s per capita spending in 2009 was $6,238, the ninth-lowest in the nation. Utah, Arizona and Georgia led the list. The U.S. average was $6,815. At the bottom: Massachusetts at No. 50, followed by the District of Columbia.

The report from the Oakland-based nonprofit foundation entitled “Health Care Costs 101: California Addendum” is chock-full of data about medical costs.

Other highlights for 2009, the most recent year that these numbers were available, include:

-- Health spending accounted for 12.2% of California’s economy — a smaller share of the economy than that of most states or the nation.

-- Hospital and physician services continued to account for the majority of spending, totaling 63%.

-- Medicare and Medicaid accounted for nearly 40% of California health spending, up from 27% in 1991.


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