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The Boston Globe

Business

Health care costs increase slightly again

Respite provides potential for tighter controls

WASHINGTON — Americans kept health care spending in check for three years in a row, the government reported Monday, an unusual respite that could linger if the economy stays soft or fade like a mirage if job growth comes roaring back.

The nation’s health care tab stood at $2.7 trillion in 2011, the latest year available, said nonpartisan number crunchers with the Department of Health and Human Services. That is 17.9 percent of the economy, which averages out to $8,680 for every man, woman, and child, far more than any other economically advanced country spends.

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