CBO Says Medicare Spending Growth Slower Than Expected

Kaiserhealthnews.org: By Sarah Barr, AUGUST 22ND, 2012, 3:31 PM

Amid its grim projections for the economy overall, the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said that Medicare spending growth is slowing, although the program will take up a larger share of the economy in a decade than it does now.

In an update to its January report on the nation’s budget and economic outlook, CBO said that outlays for Medicare will total 3.7 percent of the gross domestic product in 2013, rising to 4.3 percent of GDP in 2022, as enrollment in the program increases.

But the report also noted that for the third year in a row, CBO expects the growth in Medicare spending in 2012 to be “substantially slower” than anticipated earlier in the year.

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said at a press conference that the slower growth in Medicare is consistent with slower health care cost growth throughout the economy, which many analysts have observed. Read more