Trending News Today: Health Care Spending Slows Two Straight Years

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The Department of Health and Human Services found that the rate of health care spending growth slowed for the second consecutive year, according to the Associated Press. Although health care spending reached $3.5 trillion last year, which translates to $10,739 per person, spending growth increased by only 3.9% in 2017, compared with a 4.8% increase in 2016, the report noted. Meanwhile, private insurance and Medicaid spending grew more slowly in 2017, while Medicare costs grew at approximately the same rate as the previous year, according to the AP.

In the first 5 weeks of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, 3.2 million Americans signed up for health insurance coverage compared with 3.6 million during the same period last year, according to The New York Times. The report found that enrollment through the federal website that manages insurance marketplaces in 39 states dropped 11% compared with 2017. The article noted that the drop in enrollment could be attributed to several factors, including people waiting until the last minute to sign up, a lack of enrollment data from 11 states, and the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to dismantle the law, according to the NYT.

An upcoming Supreme Court ruling could hold long-term implications for small drugmakers, according to STAT. The court will rule on a complaint from a Swiss manufacturer challenging a change to a law in 2011 that prohibits a company from applying a patent to an invention if it was for sale for more than a year prior to the patent application filing, the article stated. Oral arguments were presented in the case last week, which leaves the Supreme Court to decide whether Congress intends the law to apply to agreements that are publicly known or whether it should also include confidential transactions.