Growth in prices paid for physician services outpaces general inflation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 30, 2012

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The annual increase in the cost of physician care was higher than the overall inflation rate for the first time in over a year, according to the monthly Consumer Price Index report issued July 17 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Inflation was 1.7% in the economy as a whole, but the total price paid by patients and their insurance companies for physician services went up 2.2% for the 12-month period ending in June. This ends a 14-month run when the overall annual inflation rate was higher than price growth in physician services. The annual rate for the general economy was 1.7% in May while the cost of physician services went up 1.6%. The general rate was 2.3% in April, while prices paid to doctors grew by 1.4%.

The change has less to do with physician cost trends than it does other factors. For example, analysts said a decline in energy prices in recent months has held down the overall inflation rate.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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