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Expanding Costs of Health Care HIGHLIGHTS With health care costs escalating at rates that dramatically exceed wage growth and inflation, future health care spending poses a significant challenge for the Federal budget, for employers, and for families. Health care spending in the United States doubled between 1996 and 2006, and is expected to double again in the next decade. Policymakers and political candidates of all philosophical stripes have offered dramatically different strategies for controlling health care spending. These approaches range from placing the locus of health care spending decisions -- and risk for health care costs - with individuals and families, to making long-term investments in prevention, better information and better health care quality that will be best realized if all Americans have health care coverage.
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