CBO: Slowed Federal Health Spending Yields Savings

Federal spending on health care has slowed sharply, partly as a result of the federal health care law, reports the Congressional Budget Office. But the changes are not sufficient to resolve the nation's long-term debt, the report finds.

The New York Times: Budget Office Lowers Its Estimate On Federal Spending For Health Care
The growth of federal spending on health care will continue to decline as a proportion of the overall economy in the coming decades, in part because of cost controls mandated by President Obama’s health care law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday. The budget office said in its annual 25-year forecast that federal spending on major health care programs would amount to 8 percent of gross domestic product by 2039, one-tenth of a percentage point lower than its previous projection (Joachim, 7/15).

The Washington Post: CBO: Slowing Health-Care Costs Yield Big Savings, But Not Enough To Bring Down Our Big Debt
The fastest-growing part of the federal budget -- spending on health-care programs -- has slowed sharply in recent years. And while no one knows quite why that's happening, the Congressional Budget Office is predicting substantial savings. For the 10-year period beginning in 2010, the estimated cost of Medicare and Medicaid -- the government health programs for the elderly and the poor -- has dropped by $1.23 trillion, according to revised CBO projections. In its latest look at the nation's long-term finances, released Tuesday, CBO predicts that the savings will grow by 2039 to 1.5 percent of the economy -- or, in today's dollars, roughly $250 billion a year (Montgomery, 7/15).

The Wall Street Journal: CBO Sees Medicare's Financial Picture Improving
The biggest Medicare program is expected to remain financially solvent through 2030, five years longer than previously expected, according to a government estimate released Tuesday that predicts the program's health-care costs will grow more slowly than they did before the recession. The report by the Congressional Budget Office said Medicare's financial picture had improved sharply since its February forecast, when the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper projected that the portion of the government-run health program that provides hospital coverage for seniors and the disabled would exhaust its reserves in 2025 (Paletta, 7/15).

The Hill: CBO Says US Deficit Levels Are Unsustainable
Washington’s failure to contain entitlement spending is biting into the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook, the Congressional Budget Office warned in a Tuesday report that found the nation’s debt would jump to 106 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2039. The CBO said the rising costs of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security as the U.S. population continues to age are the drivers of U.S. debt (Becker, 7/15).

The Hill: O-Care Controls Will Curb Health Spending
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office says cost control measures in ObamaCare will help reduce the growth in federal healthcare spending over the next 25 years. The report says federal healthcare spending will be equal to 8 percent of GDP by 2039, down from a projection last year of 8.1 percent. The savings would amount to $250 billion in today’s dollars, CBO found (Al-Faruque, 7/15).

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