Earlier this week, we discussed the recent slowdown of National Health Expenditures (NHE) and how, while promising, it may not last. That means more must be done to control health care spending in the future.
With health care spending a central topic in budget discussions, the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released a timely report on the growth of National Health Expenditures (NHE). In the report, published in Health Affairs, CMS finds that total health care spending (both private and public spending) in the U.S. in 2011 reached $2.7 trillion, or about 17.9 percent of GDP. This comes out to roughly $8,700 per person.
The recent offers from the White House and Republican House leadership have shown that both parties appear to be committed to finding a compromise. But lawmakers still have a long ways to go. Not only must Congress and the President find a way to replace the fiscal cliff, but they should do so with a plan that adequately addresseses our unsustainable debt problem. To do this, all ideas must be on the table.
Reducing federal health spending will play an important role in any long term deficit reduction plan debated over the next year. As lawmakers look to reform and put federal health programs on a more sustainable path for future generations, we've highlighted before that there is no shortage of options.
Yesterday, the Fix the Debt Campaign had a event with two roundtables bringing together many health policy and tax experts from across the political spectrum to discuss two of the central issues involved in the current budget negotiations.
Just as President Obama and the Republican leadership are trading offers, three think tanks--the Heritage Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Bipartisan Policy Center-- each offered ideas that could be used in the negotiations.
Tomorrow, the Campaign to Fix the Debt will be hosting a half-day event that will bring together tax, health, and budget experts for a series of discussions on pressing budget issues. The event will start at 8:30 AM and will feature remarks from former OMB director and current Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus (D-MT), and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling.
In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff, but little of it has focused on one piece that has caused headaches for lawmakers for almost a decade – the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. In January, the SGR formula calls for an unrealistic 27 percent cut to Medicare provider payments if Congress does not act to prevent them from going into effect. We’ve discussed before how the SGR is a flawed formula and that any “doc fix” enacted by Congress should be paid for in full.
Last week, a letter from six organizations--the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Geriatrics Society, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and the Medicare Rights Center--urged Congress to override the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that is set to cut Medicare physician payments by 27 percent starting January 1.
In light of our nation’s fiscal challenges, the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) has put together a report of policy options to address the long-term challenge posed by rising health care costs. The policy package, released yesterday, proposes 50 recommendations to reduce federal health care spending in the ten-year federal budget window, while building a sustainable and affordable health care system in the long-term.