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Slower Growth of Health Costs Eases Budget Deficit [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-14-13 01:12 AM
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Slower Growth of Health Costs Eases Budget Deficit
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WASHINGTON A sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the countrys long-term fiscal problems.

In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.

Health experts say they do not yet fully understand what is driving the lower spending trajectory. But there is a growing consensus that changes in how doctors and hospitals deliver health care as opposed to merely a weak economy are playing a role. Still, experts sharply disagree on where spending might be in future years, a question with major ramifications for the federal deficit, family budgets and the overall economy.


The costs DID increase, but the increase was 15% less than was projected only 3 years ago. (early 2010, I assume). Question is, why did the CBO project such high increases early in 2010? hmmm

In related news, these are the cost of living adjustments received by recipients of Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance over the past few years, including 2009, which the CBO was presumably aware of when making projections early in 2010.

2009 0.0
2010 0.0
2011 3.6
2012 1.7

Again, I ask, why did the CBO p?oject such high increases wearly in 2010. (while ACA was under consideration)?

The CBO plays such a pivotal role in legislation. Is anyone ever held to account when errors are this glaring? For that matter, are any D.C. economists paid by taxpayer dollars ever held to account? If not, why not?

While I only skimmed the story, the actual amount by which health care costs did increase did not leap out at me, only that the increase was 15% less than projected. That's pretty odd reporting.

My guess is that this story relied heavily on a press release from the federal government or from the industry.
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