- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Health care spending is expected to grow faster than the U.S. economy over the coming decade, government actuaries said Wednesday, as prices for medical goods and services rise and the baby-boom generation ages.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said spending will increase 5.5 percent, on average, each year through 2026, or 1 percentage point above overall economic growth.

As a result, health care’s share of the gross domestic product will rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2026.

“Today’s report from the independent CMS Office of the Actuary shows that healthcare spending is expected to continue growing more quickly than the rest of the economy,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “This is yet another call to action for CMS to increase market competition and consumer choice within our programs to help control costs and ensure that our programs are available for future generations.”

Medicare, the public insurance program for seniors, will see the fastest annual growth, at 7.4 percent, as its rolls balloon.

Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, will see average annual growth of 5.8 percent, which is a noticeable slowdown from 2014-2016, as President Obama’s vast expansion of the program took root.

Overall, federal, state and local governments are slated to finance 47 percent of national health spending, an increase from 45 percent in 2016.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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