Health Care Spending to Increase Moderately

health-is-wealthMy Comments: There was little talk among the 17 candidates yesterday about trying once again to repeal Obamacare. Why is that?

Once again, projected health care cost outcomes are moving in the right direction, downward. Yes, overall spending will increase, but by far less than happened before the PPACA.

Just suppose, if over the past six years, a bipartisan effort to fix the flaws had been in play rather than mindless efforts to kill the PPACA without a viable alternative in mind. There were only comments about the profits accruing to health insurance companies by some candidates.

Remember this when people like Bush, Trump, Kasich et al talk about private alternatives if they are elected to the White House. Only a fool would expect Big Pharma, or the hospital industry to gut their profits to benefit the rest of us.

Jul 28, 2015 | By Dan Cook

Driven by affordable health insurance and an aging U.S. population, health care spending over the next decade is projected to outpace the gross domestic product (GDP) by slightly more than 1 percent.

That’s what a study of health care spending trends by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says. CMS expects last year’s increase to clock in at 5.5 percent when all the numbers are tallied. Looking ahead, CMS projects a 5.8 percent annual growth rate through 2024—1.1 percent higher than the rate projected for the GDP.

“After six years of national health spending growth hovering near historically low rates, we’re projecting faster growth in health spending over the next decade reflecting expanded insurance coverage under the ACA, expectations of continued improvements in the economy, and population aging,” says Sean Keehan, the study’s lead author. “However, these projected growth rates are significantly lower than those observed over the three decades prior to the recent recession.”

Keehan says the projected rate for the coming decade is significantly lower than the sector’s historical rate of about 9 percent a year, dating back to 1978. The rate reached a historic low of 4 percent a year during the recession (2008-2013).

The 2014 rebound (to $3.1 trillion) doesn’t presage another rapid escalation of the sector’s growth, the study argues, because myriad actions taken since the recession will offset trends pushing spending higher.

This year’s increase is expected to be in the vicinity of 5.3 percent, where it will remain for three years before inching upward again. Once the economy absorbs the newly insured and policymakers put the brakes on the current spike in prescription drug costs, the nation’s spending on health care will enter a moderate period, the study predicts.