The Corner

Bending the Cost Curve — Up

From AP:

The nation’s medical costs will keep spiraling upward at a rapid pace under Democratic legislation pending in the House, a report from government economic experts concluded Wednesday.

The report from the Office of the Actuary, which does long-range cost estimates for Medicare, carried an unusual disclaimer saying that it “does not represent an official position” of the Health and Human Services Department or the rest of the Obama administration.

The administration immediately challenged the analysis, saying it is out of date because the House bill is being rewritten to bring costs under tighter control and will be merged eventually with other House legislation and a Senate bill….

Unlike previous estimates that have focused mainly on the legislation’s impact on the federal deficit, the actuaries’ report looked at total costs, public and private, over the next 10 years. It found that the nation’s health care tab would increase somewhat more rapidly with the legislation than if nothing is done. The main reason: Newly insured people will seek medical care.

Without the legislation, the nation’s health care tab is projected to approach $4.7 trillion in 2019.

With the legislation, national health care spending would be nearly $4.8 trillion in 2019.

Total national health care spending would increase by an additional 2.1 percent from 2010-2019.

Health care would account for 21.3 percent of the U.S. economy in 2019, slightly more than an estimated share of 20.8 percent of the economy if no bill passes. Economists have warned such increases are unsustainable.