KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Care Spending Projected To Grow Modestly

Government actuaries expect that U.S. health spending will increase over the next decade as a result of an aging population, a rebounding economy and the health law's expanded insurance coverage, but the growth rates will be lower than those seen for most of the last two decades.

Kaiser Health News: Health Care Spending Forecast To Increase Modestly In Next Decade
National health spending will increase modestly over the next decade, propelled in part by the gradual rebound of the U.S. economy and the growing ranks of Americans who became insured under the health law, government actuaries projected Wednesday. But those growth rates are not as high as what the country saw for the two decades before the Great Recession crippled the U.S. economy at the end of 2007, according to the report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary and published in the journal Health Affairs (Carey, 9/3).

The New York Times: After Slow Growth, Experts Say, Health Spending Is Expected To Climb
Government experts on Wednesday predicted a rebound in national health care spending as expansions in coverage and improvements in the economy take hold after four years of exceptionally slow growth in the nation’s medical bills (Pear, 9/3).

Los Angeles Times: Nation's Healthcare Changes May Rein In Costs In Long Run, Report Says
The report released Wednesday suggests that changes underway in medical care and insurance coverage may help rein in America’s notoriously high-cost system, even as millions of Americans gain insurance through the federal healthcare law. But the slowing still may not make healthcare affordable, as medical spending is projected to outpace economic growth over the next decade, the report says (Levey, 9/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Spending Grew 3.6% In 2013, Projections Show
The growth of U.S. health spending remained at historic lows in 2013, but it is projected to accelerate with a rebounding economy and expanded insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, new federal figures show. National health-care spending is projected to have increased 3.6% to $2.89 trillion in 2013, according to a forecast released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Actual figures haven't yet been calculated for that year. The growth figure would mark the fifth consecutive year of spending increases under 4% and is among the lowest rates since the government began tracking the gains in the 1960s. By comparison, rate of increase in the gross domestic product was 3.4% in 2013, according to the CMS report (Armour, 9/3).

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: The End Of Health Care’s Historic Spending Slowdown Is Near
As the economy recovers, Obamacare expands coverage and baby boomers join Medicare in droves, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' actuary now projects that health spending will grow on average 5.7 percent each year through 2023, which is 1.1 percentage points greater than the expected rise in GDP over the same period (Millman, 9/3).

The Associated Press: Gov’t Forecasts Rising Health Care Inflation
The nation’s respite from troublesome health care inflation is ending, the government said Wednesday in a report that renews a crucial budget challenge for lawmakers, taxpayers, businesses and patients. Economic recovery, an aging society, and more people insured under the new health care law are driving the long-term trend (9/3).

USA Today: Health Care Spending Growth Is Slow But Rising
The growth in health spending for 2013 is estimated to have slowed to 3.6%, but the rate will rise to 5.6% for 2014, the report says. The leading contributors to the increased growth are more people being covered through the Affordable Care Act, expected economic growth and the aging population, CMS says. Some of the impact on the older populations is tempered by the fact that Baby Boomers are healthier than many other new enrollees in Medicare as most are coming from private insurance, the study says. Since the 2007-08 recession, economic recovery has been weaker than anticipated, which has tamped down the rate of health care spending (O’Donnell, 9/3).

Fiscal Times: Health Care Spending Expected To Climb Next Year
After years of health care spending hovering at record lows, federal actuaries say health care spending is expected to surge in the next decade as the economy strengthens, the population ages and millions of new people gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In its annual report published in Health Affairs, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projected Wednesday that health care spending for 2014 will increase by 5.6 percent and by an average 6 percent for 2015 through 2023. The projections are consistent with the projected baseline scenario in the 2014 Medicare Trustees Report (Ehley, 9/3).

Politico: Health Care Spending Growth Remains Modest
Something surprising is happening with health care spending in the United States. The population is aging, the economy is improving, more people are getting covered than ever — and yet a feared surge in spending isn’t happening, according to new projections by federal health care actuaries. Numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show that spending growth last year is expected to have remained very low by historical standards at just 3.6 percent. (The final data have yet to come in.) In 2014, as the economy gains steam and the Affordable Care Act’s main coverage provisions kick in, that increase is expected to be 5.6 percent (Norman, 9/3).

Reuters: U.S. Health Care Spending Growth To Slow Further
The CMS study projects both public and private healthcare outlays and showed the overall total will make up a smaller portion of the economy than previously thought in coming years. In 2023, it estimated that healthcare spending will equal 19.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product, compared with last year's projection of 19.9 percent for 2022. It made up 17.2 percent of GDP in 2012 (Lawder, 9/3).

Fox News: Health Spending Projected to Increase Over Next Decade
A new report projects that slow growth in health spending in 2013 will be followed by substantial increases over the next decade, expected to be driven by increased coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, economic growth and aging Baby Boomers. The estimates, released Wednesday from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, suggest that in 2013, health spending will have increased by a “slow” rate of 3.6%. In 2014, health spending is projected to increase by 5.6%, followed by an average projected growth of 6.0% from 2015 through 2023 (Karol, 9/3).

NBC News: Health Spending Picking Up Again After Half-Decade Slowdown
Almost $1 in every $5 of the nation's economy will be devoted to health-care spending by 2023, according to a new official projection that sees health costs once again accelerating this year after a half-decade of unusually slow growth. Expanded medical coverage from Obamacare, an aging population and a healthier economy all will contribute to faster health spending growth..., federal officials said Wednesday (Mangan, 9/3).

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