Archive for the ‘Health care costs’ Category
AHL’s TOP STORY: CBO Issues Updated Spending Projections for Medicare, Medicaid, ACA Over Next Decade
The Congressional Budget Office yesterday lowered its Medicare spending projections for the next decade by $137 billion, noting that federal spending on the program has been “significantly lower” than predicted for the past three years, The Hill‘s “Healthwatch” reports (Viebeck , “Healthwatch,” The Hill, 2/5).
According to the report, Medicare spending in fiscal year 2012 grew by just 3%, to $551 billion, the slowest recorded rate of growth since 2000. Despite the slowdown, CBO estimated that total Medicare spending will reach $1.079 trillion in fiscal year 2023 (Reichard , CQ HealthBeat, 2/5).
The U.S. could save billions of dollars annually in health care costs by coordinating public health resources at the federal, state and local levels to focus on preventive health care, according to a report released today by Trust for America’s Health, Reuters reports.
The report outlines a plan to “move from sick care to health care” by directing more resources to preventing chronic illnesses (Begley, Reuters, 1/29).
During his second inauguration speech yesterday, President Obama reiterated his goal to curb rising federal health care costs without cutting Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries’ benefits, Modern Healthcare reports (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 1/21).
Obama said, “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,” adding, “But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future” (Pittman, MedPage Today, 1/21).
AHL’s TOP STORY: U.S. Residents Less Healthy, Die Younger, Compared With Peers in Other Developed Nations, Study Finds
The U.S. spends more per person on health care than any other country, but U.S. residents are less healthy and have shorter life spans compared with individuals living in other developed countries, according to a report released yesterday by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, Reuters reports.
Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California-Berkeley, in a recent article writes that controlling the nation’s budget deficits cannot be done by reforming entitlements, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Reich writes that discussing entitlement reforms is a distraction from more important actions, including:
Limiting health care cost growth;
Cutting the military; and
Ending corporate welfare.
He continues that the rising number of U.S. residents receiving federal benefits is temporary and likely a result of the economic downturn. “If anything, America’s safety nets have been too small and shot through with holes,” he adds.
Reich suggests that the “solution isn’t to reduce Medicare benefits. It’s for the nation to contain overall health care costs and get more for its health care dollars.” To that end, he proposes a solution that leverages Medicare’s bargaining power over health care providers to shift away from a “‘fee-for-the-most-costly-service’ system to a system focused on achieving healthy outcomes.”
From the Affordable Care Act surviving a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election to yet another “doc fix,” 2012 was filled with health care news. AHLAlerts was there every step of the way, providing reliable coverage and pointed analysis. But what were readers’ favorite stories? Find out after the jump.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 — as some lawmakers have proposed as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff — would increase insurance costs for individuals age 65 and older by $2,000, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Faler/Wayne, Bloomberg Businessweek, 12/6).
HEALTH CARE SPENDING: How Much Does Technology Contribute to Higher Health Costs? How Do We Decide What is Worth the Investment?
The U.S. spends more on health care than most other industrialized countries in the world. However, with fragmented — and sometimes confusing — data, it’s difficult to determine the major factors driving spending. Some experts have pinpointed medical technology — such as diagnostic tools, like CT scans, or medical devices — as a major driver of higher health care spending.
AHL’s TOP STORY: Employer Health Care Costs Increase by 4%, Smallest Increase Since 1997, Survey Finds
U.S. employers’ health care costs increased by 4.1% in 2012, marking the smallest increase in 15 years, according to a survey released today by Mercer, Columbus Business First reports (Ghose, Columbus Business First, 11/14).
The survey of about 2,800 public and private companies attributed the trend in part to more companies shifting to high-deductible health plans, which encourage workers to seek less-costly care. Nearly 60% of very large employers — more than 20,000 workers — offer such plans, and the portion of all employers offering such plans rose from 17% in 2011 to 22% in 2012, Mercer found (Hancock, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 11/14).