"Voting on Health Care"

"Voting on Health Care" by truthout on flickr

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes  projections annually, but this is the first year that they include the impact of health reform,  Yesterdays release of the current projection had the health reform impact buried in the changes to all other assumptions,  but we get an indication of how small a change health reform was by noting that the health care spending growth to 2010 is projected to be 5.8% — including the impact of health reform — up only 0.1% from last years projection without health reform  growth rate  of 5.7%.

The decision to not control drug costs via re-importation of identical drugs sold to other countries at lower prices, and to not allow the VA negociated price for drugs procedure to become the procedure for all government spending under health reform,  results in a projection that says 11% of GDP will be spent on Drugs in 2020 – more than half of the total projected 20% of GDP that will be spent on all drug care.

Lack of cost controls like the single payer that Vermont has passed and which awaits the Congress’s approval under the Health Reform bill, and the fact only one state, Maryland, has passed a law to require all 3rd party payers to pay the same amount for a given service, that amount being determined by a State Board of health care professionals, means the US health cost as a nation, and as a government, will be 70% to 100% higher than that paid bt other industrial nations with better health outcome statistics than the US.

Because of the expansion of Medicaid and the subsidy paid health insurance companies for premiums billed to middle income and low income families (insuring by 2020 nearly 30 million additional people), the U.S. government will foot the bill for half of all health care costs in the United States by 2020.

The growth in cost to 20% of GDP can also be expressed as a growth from the cost in 2010, $2.6 trillion, to $4.6 trillion in 2020.

In the year 2014 CMS estimates that 23 million currently uninsured citizens will gain access to health insurance, at a cost of $19,393 per family, causing government costs to rise 20% that year as private health insurance spending increases 9.4%, and prescription drug spending increases by 10.7%. In 2014 costs of physician and clinical services is forecast to rise by 8.9%, representing 19% of overall health care spending.

Interestly,hospital bills for the nation (hospital bills is the part of health care cost covered by Medicare Part A which is not in any immediate or short term financial crisis) are forecast to account for only 30% of overall health care spending by 2020.