How does medical inflation compare to inflation in the rest of the economy?

Note: This analysis was updated on March 29, 2023, to include new data.

Medical care prices and overall health spending typically outpace growth in the rest of the economy. However, in recent months, prices for many consumer goods and services have increased faster than usual, with overall inflation reaching a four-decade high in mid-2022.

This analysis uses Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, including the consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) to analyze prices for medical care compared to other goods and services. It finds that overall prices grew by 6% in February 2023 from the previous year, while prices for medical care increased only 2.3%. This is unusual, as health prices historically outpace prices in the rest of the economy.

The analysis can be found on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

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