For the first time, government programs next year will account for more than half of all U.S. health-care spending, federal actuaries predict, as the weak economy sends more people into Medicaid and slows growth of private insurance. . .(via Critical Condition)
Public funds accounted for 47% of the $2.34 trillion of national health spending in 2008, the last year for which figures are available. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates in a paper to be published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs that the proportion will rise to 50.4% by 2011. Last year, the federal actuaries had predicted the 50% mark wouldn't be reached until around 2016. . .
source: February 4th WSJ
The rise in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, and Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, is driving an increase in overall health spending.
The paper estimated that U.S. health spending hit $2.5 trillion in 2009, up 5.7% from the previous year. That represents 17.3% of gross domestic product, up from 16.2% in 2008, because the overall economy shrank last year. A decade from now, health spending is projected to hit about $4.5 trillion a year.
Growth of Medicaid accounts for much of the shift toward publicly funded health care. The paper predicted enrollment in Medicaid would rise 5.6% this year and spending would rise 8.9%.
Meanwhile, the number of people with private health insurance is falling slightly because of high unemployment.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Chart of the Day
Peter Landers in the Wall Street Journal: