Health care spending will climb to almost $4.64 trillion, or almost 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, by 2020, projects a report released Thursday in Health Affairs. Total health care spending in 2010 was $2.6 trillion, or 17.6 percent of GDP.
The report, which was written by economists in the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, blamed the Affordable Care Act — colloquially known as federal health care reform — for likely raising the nation’s health care costs by an annual rate of 5.8 percent. Without health care reform, health care costs would increase at a rate of 5.7 percent -- a mere tenth of a percentage point difference. The act is expected to expand coverage to some 30 million uninsured Americans by 2020.
Democrats and liberal groups quickly embraced the report. “The bottom line from the report is clear: more Americans will get coverage and save money and health expenditure growth will remain virtually the same,” Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the Obama administration, wrote on the White House blog.
But Republicans were equally eager to pounce on the report, seizing on the higher cost projections. “Simply put, this report states the obvious, that Americans have known for more than a year — the $2.6 trillion law only makes worse the fundamental problem of skyrocketing health care costs worse,” Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Republican, told The Washington Times.
You can read the report and craft your own opinion here.