"Cost-shifting and consolidation both need to be looked at within the context of healthcare costs," he says. "What's important about this data is that is shows clearly that it's the rise in prices for medical services that are driving the rise in healthcare cost growth. There needs to be more focus on the prices that are being charged and why if we are going to have a system that is sustainable."
Even though healthcare costs are easily outstripping the CPI, the S&P indices showed a slight deceleration in June. The 5.78% average per capita costs increase of healthcare services actually slowed slightly for the 12 months ending in June compared with +6.06% in May and +6.11% rate in April.
The Professional Services Index annual growth rate also slowed from its May +6.28% rate to June's +6.07%, and the Hospital Index annual growth rate fell to +5.22% in June from +5.56% in May, S&P reports.
The S&P Healthcare Economic Indices estimate the per capita change in revenues accrued each month by hospital and professional services facilities for services provided to patients covered under traditional Medicare and commercial health insurance programs. The annual growth rates are determined by calculating a percent change of the 12-month moving averages of the monthly index levels versus the same month of the prior year.