More Americans are heading to the doctor’s office, supporting growth in the U.S. healthcare services sector and related exchange traded funds.
Year-to-date, the iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (NYSEArca: IHF) rose 15.4% and SPDR S&P Health Care Services ETF (NYSEArca: XHS) increased 12.4%. In contrast, the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV), which includes a 19.3% tilt toward the health care providers & services space, gained 8.5% so far this year.
In a quarterly services survey, the Commerce Department revealed that consumption, including healthcare spending, rose at a faster pace than the government had expected in its gross domestic product assessment last month, Reuters reports. [Healthcare Services ETFs Strengthening on Larger Client Base]
“The survey data suggest better spending on healthcare services, in particular at outpatient care facilities and other medical service providers,” Jesse Hurwitz, an economist at Barclays, said in the Reuters article.
The improved healthcare spending could have increased U.S. GDP by as much as four-tenths of a percentage point to an annual 2.2% rate.
“Consumption of services was a bit stronger than the [Bureau of Economic Analysis] had estimated, and most of that was tilted toward health care,” Hurwitz said, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Supporting the increase in doctor visits, the Affordable Care Act has been a helped millions of Americans become insured clients. However, the ACA, or so-called Obamacare, is under scrutiny as the Supreme Court is set to give its answer on the legality of a key component in the new healthcare reform, according to the New York Times.