- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Gov’t: Spending to rise under health care overhaul
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation’s health care tab will go up _ not down _ as a result of President Barack Obama’s sweeping overhaul. That’s the conclusion of a government forecast Thursday, which also predicts the increase will be modest.
The average annual growth in health care spending will be just two-tenths of 1 percentage point higher through 2019 with Obama’s remake, said the analysis from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary. And that’s with more than 32 million uninsured gaining coverage because of the new law.
“The impact is moderate,” said Andrea Sisko, an economist with the nonpartisan unit that prepared the report.
Factoring in the law, Americans will spend an average of $13,652 per person a year on health care in 2019, according to the actuary’s office. Without the law, the corresponding number would be $13,387.
That works out to $265 more with the overhaul.
The big picture numbers are $4.6 trillion with the overhaul in 2019, and $4.5 trillion without it. The nation will spend $2.6 trillion on health care this year.
The new bottom line is guaranteed to provide ammunition for both sides of a health care debate that refuses to move offstage. Republicans are vowing repeal if they win control of Congress this fall, although they are unlikely to have enough votes to override an Obama veto.
For critics, the numbers show that the law didn’t solve the cost problem, although Obama repeatedly said he wanted to bend the spending curve down.
The analysis found that health care spending will grow to nearly 20 percent of the economy in 2019. That siphons off resources that could be invested in education, research, transportation or other areas. Medical costs now account for about 17 percent of the economy, and some experts think that’s already too much.
“We really haven’t trimmed health care spending,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, which advocates for reducing the federal deficit. “Even if we found a way to provide more people with coverage, we still have the same fiscal problem we always did. Frankly, it’s a little bit more difficult to solve now because we have made a major new commitment.”
Bixby’s group raised concerns about the cost of the health care legislation, but did not oppose it.
For advocates of the law, the numbers show that expanding coverage to 93 percent of eligible Americans comes at a relative bargain price. Moreover, if Congress sticks to cost controls in the legislation, there’s potential beyond 2020 to rein in the growth of health care spending. The new projections show a slowdown starting around 2018.
“By the end of the projection period, we estimate (costs) will grow more slowly,” said John Poisal, who worked on the forecast.
It’s a long way off, but under the health care law, the big coverage push doesn’t start until 2014.
That’s when the government will offer tax credits to help middle-class people buy private coverage through new insurance markets in their states. At the same time, Medicaid will be opened up to millions more low-income people. Insurers will have to accept all applicants, regardless of health problems. And most Americans will be required to carry coverage or face a fine from the IRS.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- First Dog Sunny knocks down Ashtyn Gardner; Michelle Obama yanks leash
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
Despite cynicism about the law, it can provide you justice, protection, and ensure your rights.