Health care spending slows in Minn.

The state Health Department reports the rate of health care spending in Minnesota has slowed to its lowest point since 1997.

Health care costs are still rising, but at a much slower pace — 2.2 percent between 2009 and 2010.

State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister said the recession was a major factor in why Minnesotans spent less on health care. He said many lost their insurance when they lost their jobs and others who kept their jobs were more cautious.

"People experienced flat income or declining incomes, which also likely affected how they decided to spend it," he said.

Gildemeister said another reason why health care spending may be slowing is that consumers are increasingly paying more of out of pocket costs.

Health care spending accounts for nearly 14 percent of the state's economy at $37.7 billion.

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