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Inflation up from August to September, but health care prices change little


Health insurance drops again in yearly figures of consumer price index.

inflation word on wooden cube on coins: © Deemerwha studio stock.adobe.com

© Deemerwha studio stock.adobe.com

Prices generally keep going up, although medical care service costs were remained flat in September.

Inflation rose 0.4% last month, following a 0.6% increase in August, and prices were up 3.7% from the year before, according to the latest figures published Oct. 12 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For all items, shelter and gas pushed up prices overall, with energy costs rising 1.5% from August to September. Food prices increased 0.2%, the same as the previous two months. Year on year, the consumer price index rose 3.7% in September, a repeat of August, and prices were up 4.1% not counting food and energy, according to the BLS report.

Prices of medical care services rose by 0.3% from August to September, slightly more than the 0.1% rise from July to August. The prices for professional services overall were flat, as were physicians’ services and dental services. Eyeglass and eye care service prices rose 0.4% month to month, while services by other medical professionals rose 0.1% from August to September.

Hospital service prices increased by 1.5% last month. Health insurance costs decreased 3.5% from August to September. Year over year, health insurance prices were down 37.3%. BLS did not offer an explanation for the decrease for the figure, which was not seasonally adjusted. It remained among the largest price differences from September 2022 to September 2023, according to the report.

National reactions

In a statement, President Joe Biden called the report evidence of “Bidenomics in action,” with overall inflation down 60% from its peak and unemployment less than 4% for 20 months in a row.

“I’ll continue to fight to build an economy from the middle out and bottom up – even as Republicans in Congress make reckless threats to weaken our economy, prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and push for deep cuts to programs that are essential for hardworking Americans and seniors,” the president’s statement said.

The Republican National Committee called it “Bidenflation,” noting prices were up 17.7% since the president took office and inflation averaged 6% year-over-year for Biden’s term. Meanwhile, real wages have decreased 3.2% since the president took office, said a statement by Jake Schneider, published by the RNC.

“We are, once again, seeing ‘Bidenomics’ in action — and it’s not good,” Schneider said.

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