U.S. health care costs rise at fast clip

One of the big unknowns about the federal health reform law is how much is will really do to control costs. Some Democrats say the law includes tough provisions that will “bend the cost curve,” while others say it didn’t go far enough to really tackle spiraling health care costs in the U.S.

That’s the backdrop from a new analysis out today showing that the U.S. not only spends more per capita than any other industrialized country on health care. But the U.S. also has had the highest annual spikes in health care costs.

“Health spending per capita in the U.S. climbed to $7,538 in 2008, more than 50 percent more than Norway,” reports the Kaiser Family Foundation today.”The U.S. devoted 16 percent of its gross domestic product devoted to health care in 2008, nearly five percentage points higher than the shared devoted by France and Belgium, the nations with the next highest share.”