Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, the cost of healthcare is a national concern. Despite recent slowdowns, health care spending will outpace economic growth in the next decade.
A new report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects, as President Barack Obama's reforms expand coverage to include 30 million uninsured Americans, healthcare spending will rise over the next decade. By 2021, the cost of healthcare could hit $4.8 trillion.
Between 2011 and 2021, national health spending is estimated to increase, on average, by 5.7 percent each year. This number is 0.9 percent higher than the estimated increase in economic growth. The report estimates that by 2021, federal, state and local government health costs will make up 50 percent of all health costs, up four percent from 2011.
President Obama's Affordable Care Act is projected to take full effect in 2014 and, according to the report, will add 0.1 percent to the average annual health spending growth. The Affordable Care Act will add roughly $478 billion to total health spending. By 2021, health spending will account for nearly 20 percent of the United States economy.
While healthcare spending would increase to 7.4 percent due to the effect of the healthcare law, those numbers would soon average out to around 6.2 percent each year from 2015 to 2021. These projections may change considerably depending on rulings from the Supreme Court which could rule to eliminate parts of the Affordable Care Act or the entire law itself.
A lot of the spending increases will be due to the baby boomers. Medicare costs are expected to increase significantly as more people use of the federally-funded insurance program. The recent slowdown in growth was in large part due to the economy and as the country spends more, healthcare costs will also increase.
The Affordable Care Act will be the focal point for Republicans and Democrats, but according to the report, the law does not have a lot of effect one way or the other on healthcare spending. The study notes that there will be a slight increase in the healthcare spending but ultimately the growth would be lower with the law than without it.
Supporters can claim that the law would not dramatically raise the cost of healthcare as some detractors may claim while the detractors can claim that the law will not decrease healthcare spending contrary to what supporters may claim.