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 disappear if job growth comes roaring back.
The nations 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. Thats 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.
Still, it was the third straight year of historically low increases in the U.S. The 3.9 percent increase meant that health care costs grew in line with the overall economy in 2011 instead of surging ahead as they normally have during a recovery. A health care bill that grows at about the same rate as the economy is affordable; one that surges ahead is not.
Health care spending is projected to spike up again in 2014, as a law covering the uninsured takes full effect, before settling down to a new normal.
Dish plans auctions in real time for ads
Dish Network Corp., the second-largest U.S. satellite provider, is developing a feature that would let advertisers see what people are watching in real time, setting the stage for last-minute auctions of ad space.
By collecting real-time data through set-top boxes, Dish may develop a new way for the industry to sell advertisements, Warren Schlichting, Dishs senior vice president of media sales and analytics, said in an interview.
Giving advertisers live data on what customers are watching at any moment could let Dish auction off commercials and have them inserted seconds before they air. The results would provide more specific and accurate audience information in an era when more people are skipping commercials. Dish, based in Englewood, Colo., also may be able to charge higher rates for shows that prove surprisingly popular.
Feds propose directive for noisier electric cars
The government wants all electric and hybrid vehicles to make some noise when traveling under 18 miles per hour so pedestrians can hear them coming.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the cars dont make enough noise at low speeds to warn walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired. The agency says the cars make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds.
The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule. The agency will use public input to craft a final rule.