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Prices flat for physicians’ services, but food, gas costs push up inflation

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President cites drug price changes in his remarks on economy at start of 2023.

Prices for physicians’ services were flat, even as food and energy costs pushed up inflation at the end of 2022.

Food prices crept up 0.3% and gas prices dropped 9.4% from November to December last year, according to the December 2022 Consumer Price Index Summary published Jan. 12 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-on-year, inflation at the end of 2022 was 6.5% for the year.

The increase was the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending in October 2021.

Medical care services rose 0.1% from November to December last year, and prices in December were up 4.1% from the year before. Within those, physicians’ services prices increased by 0.1% from month to month, and by 1.7% from December 2021 to December 2022. Hospital services were up 1.7% monthly from November to December, and up 4.4% from the year before.

In his remarks on the economy, President Joe Biden noted this year, a month’s supply of insulin is capped at $35 for seniors on Medicare. Drug companies also could “face big penalties” if they raise prices faster than the inflation rate, Biden said.

In other costs, the president cited falling gas prices as the big reason for the drop in inflation.

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Gas prices were dropping at the pump, with a 9.4% decrease from November to December and a 1.5% drop from December 2021 to December 2022.

With more oil on the market, gas is down more than $1.70 from peak prices, adding up to a savings of $180 a month for a family with two vehicles, the president said.

Fuel oil prices declined 16.6% month to month, but remained up 41.5% from December 2021, making it the single largest year-on-year price difference in the report.

Food prices inched up just 0.3% from November to December – the smallest in two years, the president said. An avian flu outbreak drove up egg prices, and food expenses overall were 10.4% more than in December 2021. Food at home cost 11.8% percent more than a year before, while food away from home prices were up 8.3% year-on-year, according to the report.

New vehicle prices were flat for the month, but still were 5.9% more expensive than in December 2021. Used car and truck prices dipped 2.5% from November to December and were down 8.8% from December the year before.

Car repairs and insurance generally were steady month to month, but costs were 13% and 14.2%, respectively, from December 2021. Airline fares dipped 3.1% from November to December last year, but were 28.5% more than in December 2021, according to the government figures.


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