Spending taps on brakes

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

WASHINGTON - Health care spending in the United States is projected to grow 7.8% in 2003, down from the 9.3% growth experienced in 2002, according to a report just issued by CMS.

This slowdown in growth follows six consecutive years of acceleration and is attributed to slower than anticipated rates of growth for Medicare and Medicaid spending, private health insurance spending per enrollee, and medical price inflation.

Impacts of the MMA were not reflected in the report’s findings, but officials do expect the law to dramatically affect drug payments and growth rates beginning in 2006.

Predictions on spending rates through 2013 find health care growth hovering at 7.3% with the overall cost in 2013 topping $3.4 trillion, 18.4% of the country’s GDP.

Medicare and Medicaid also saw a deceleration in growth. Medicare’s decrease is attributed to the expiration of many of the provisions in the BBRA 1999 and the BIPA 2000.

Medicaid’s drop in growth is considered a result of state’s decisions to limit Medicaid spending in light of fiscal and budget pressures.