Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Health Spending Expected to Hit $4.6 Trillion by 2019

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Health Spending Expected to Hit $4.6 Trillion by 2019

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- By 2019, nearly 93% of U.S. residents will be covered by health insurance, with nearly 20% of the gross domestic product being consumed in the process, federal actuaries announced at a press briefing.

U.S. health spending is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.3% over the next 10 years, 0.2% faster than was projected before passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is expected to reach an estimated $4.6 trillion by 2019, according to an analysis by officials in the Office the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Health Affairs 2010 Sept. 9 [doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0788]).

The projections update an analysis done in February. This time, they take into account the impact of the ACA as well as changes to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) premium subsidies and Medicare physician fee schedule.

With those changes, the average annual growth rate for health care spending will increase from 6.1% before reform to 6.3% after, according to the authors.

"While the estimated net impact of the Affordable Care Act and other legislative and regulatory changes on national health spending are moderate, the underlying effects of these changes on coverage and financing are more pronounced," Andrea Sisko, lead author of the analysis and a CMS economist, said during the press briefing. "For example, we projected increased spending by a greater number of insured persons, which is largely offset by slower projected Medicare spending growth as well as lower Medicaid prices paid to providers."

Meanwhile, the implementation of ACA provisions, including the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and the extension of coverage of dependents under age 26 years, is estimated to increase national health spending by $10.2 billion through 2013, according to the analysis.

The authors also looked at administrative spending by federal and state governments, projecting that to cost $71.1 billion over the next decade.

But Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, wrote in a blog post that the report by the Office of the Actuary "confirms a central point of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama: The Act will make health care more affordable for all Americans with insurance."

She added that by 2019, per capita health spending will average $14, 720 instead of the $16, 120 projected by the Actuary before the Act was enacted into law. …

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