The title of article is US could spend $2.6 trillion less on health than original Obamacare estimates and it sounds like an incredible success story….until you read the details. So, why is there less money being spent?
- Spending on Medicaid — the joint federal-state health program for the poor — will be $1.05 trillion lower than originally projected during the time span, a 23 percent difference. “This was partly due to the Supreme Court decision in 2012 that made ACA Medicaid expansion optional for states and significantly reduced enrollment projections,” the report said.
- Spending on Medicare, the federal health coverage program for the elderly, is expected to be $455 billion less than the 2010 projections. “One reason is the Budget Control Act of 2011 (i.e., sequestration), which required Medicare payments for all types of services to be reduced 2 percent beginning in April 2013; another reason is the slower than expected spending growth between 2010 and 2014,” the report said.
- And spending on private health insurance is now projected to be $664 billion less during the time span than original estimates, according to the report. “Much of this decline was driven by slower spending growth between 2010 and 2014 than had been expected in 2010,” the study said. “Contributors to slower growth likely included the sluggish economic recovery as well as lower-than-expected prescription drug spending because of patent expirations and increases in generic drug prescribing,” the report said. “Another likely contributor was a substantial shift toward higher deductibles and cost sharing in private plans, some of which may have been adopted in anticipation of the ACA excise tax on high-cost plans.”
To summarize, not allowing Medicaid to expand, cutting payments to doctors, and increasing deductibles so patients won’t go to their doctors has allowed us to spend less money. Watch how the press spins this. Actually, the headline noted above already proved my point.