We already knew this, but, today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released a 10-year forecast that confirms it: National health spending will grow at a rate faster than it would have if Obamacare had not passed. The Washington Times reports:
Total spending is projected to grow annually by 5.8 percent under Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to a 10-year forecast by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Thursday. Without the ACA, spending would grow at a slightly slower rate of 5.7 percent annually. …
The federal government is projected to spend 20 percent more onMedicaid, while spending on private health insurance is expected to rise by 9.4 percent. …
“Simply put, this report states the obvious, that Americans have known for more than a year – the $2.6 trillion law only makes the fundamental problem of skyrocketing health care costs worse,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
The White House responded to the report in a blog post, spinning the report to emphasize, “National Health Expenditures Reach Historic Low.” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy deParle writes:
But the report doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Affordable Care Act creates changes to the health care system that typically don’t show up on an accounting table. We know these new provisions will save money for the health care system, even if today’s report doesn’t credit these strategies with reducing costs.
The report comes just as the legal challenges to the ACA reach the Supreme Court. At the same time, ads from RepealItNow.com report the drive for congressional signatures on a petition for repeal continues to be successful. In the ads, a congenial Mike Huckabee says the coalition needs the signatures of just four senators to make repeal possible. (Maybe those same four senators could revive Republican hopes of Cut, Cap and Balance!) That’s a stretch, of course — the best strategy for repeal remains to capture the Senate and White House in 2012 (and as much as I don’t want to admit it, that’s the best strategy for Cut, Cap and Balance, too). But the point is, grassroots organizations continue to bring the heat, even as health care reform seems to have fallen off the radar in debt and deficit discussions and in national news media, in general. This new report only provides more fodder for their efforts.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean the report is good news. Rising health costs affect us all and, frankly, seem especially daunting in light of our present economic outlook. So, as someone who has accepted that entitlement programs won’t carry me through retirement or future health problems, I find it helpful to remember that the best approach to health care to keep personal costs down, at least, is to attend to the basics — you know, right diet, regular exercise and ample sleep. Easier said than done, of course, but still worth attempting.