U.S. health care tab: Nearly $10,000 per American

WASHINGTON — A government report says the nation’s health care tab grew at the fastest rate in eight years in 2015, driven by the coverage expansion in President Barack Obama’s health insurance law and by costly prescription drugs.

The $3.2 trillion total averages out to $9,990 per person, although most of that is spent caring for the sickest patients.

America has struggled for decades to balance health care cost, access and quality. Friday’s report from nonpartisan experts at the Department of Health and Human Services showed significant improvement in access due to the 2010 health overhaul widely known as Obamacare.

But the problem of costs has re-emerged. The rise in health spending is outpacing overall economic growth, and that makes health care harder to afford.

The report said the federal government is now the largest payer for health care.