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Expanding insurance programs push govt healthcare share higher

An expansion of Medicare and rising healthcare costs contribute to rapidly increasing public spending on health care, a report says

A new report from officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services details the government’s increasing responsibility for healthcare costs, Kaiser Health News reported this week.

By 2019, the Medicare study says, federal, state and local governments will account for 52 percent of the nation’s health spending. The rate of government health spending increases will accelerate as the decade progresses, as well: The study’s authors project that a rising number of baby boomers entering Medicare will boost public spending growth to an annualized 7.6 percent by 2019.

Americans will see more of their paychecks go to health spending, too. Healthcare expenditures will outpace gross domestic product growth by 1.7 percentage points each year, on average, and health spending as a percentage of GDP will balloon to 19.3 percent by 2019.

“Public sector dollars are likely to grow unless we significantly redesign” Medicare and Medicaid, Project Hope fellow Gail Wilensky said to Kaiser Health News.

Government health spending will surpass private spending in 2012, the study estimates.

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Posted: February 4, 2010

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