After two consecutive years on the decline, health care spending in the U.S. increased last year.
According to federal data released Thursday, total U.S. health care spending in 2018 increased 4.6% to reach $3.6 trillion — even as the number of Americans without health insurance grew by 1 million.
Federal officials said faster growing medical prices and prescription drug spending played a role in the higher numbers. But they said the reinstatement of an Affordable Care Act tax on health insurers was largely to blame.
That tax was meant to help pay for the ACA's coverage expansion. But it's pretty unpopular among insurers, who argue the tax gets passed onto consumers in the form of higher premiums. That's prompted Congress to suspend it twice already — once in 2017 and again in 2019. It's unclear if lawmakers will decide to delay it again next year.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.