US Healthcare Spending Grew Faster Than Economy Under Obama
The USA’s healthcare bill grew at the fastest rate in 8ht years in Y 2015, driven by the coverage expansion in President Barack Hussein Obama’s law (ACA) and by costly Rx drugs, the government said recently.
The growth of 5.8% in Y 2015 boosted total healthcare spending to $3.2-T That’s an average of $9,990 per person, although the vast share of that money is spent caring for the sickest patients.
Healthcare spending grew about 2% faster than the overall US economy in Y 2015, said the report from non-partisan economic experts at the Department of Health and Human Services. That is a problem because it makes it harder for government programs, employers, and individuals to afford the level of healthcare that Americans are used to having.
The report was disappointing news for the outgoing Obama Administration.
US President Elect Donald Trump did not focus heavily on healthcare during his campaign, he implied that problems could be fixed easily and vowed to do so.
The report “casts further doubt on the extent of a permanent slowdown in health cost growth,” said economist Eugene Steuerle of the non-partisan Urban Institute.
In a milestone for data-watchers, the report found that the federal government became the largest payer for health care in Y 2015.
Washington, DC accounted for 29% of overall spending, followed by households (28%), businesses (20%), and state and local governments (17%). In doing the analysis, the HHS experts count the employee share of premiums for job-based insurance as spending by households.
Spending by private health insurance plans increased by 7.2% in Y 2015, and Medicaid spending grew by 9.7%.
In both cases, Obama’s healthcare law was the Key driver.
Spending on Rx drugs dispensed through pharmacies increased by 9% in Y 2015. The report said Rx drug spending grew faster any other category, including hospitals and doctors.
Medicare grew by 4.5% despite about 10,000 baby boomers a day reaching eligibility age. Calculated on a per-beneficiary basis, Medicare spending grew by just 1.7%.
Barack Hussein Obama’s healthcare law likely to be repealed by the ascendant Republicans to Congress.
“You get back to this old problem we have of spending growing faster than the economy,” said the President of the America Action Forum, a center-right think tank. “If you don’t solve the cost problem, it will undercut coverage expansions because they get too expensive.”
The HHS Report was published online by the journal Health Affairs.