Growth in enrollment, not costs, driving Medicare/Medicaid spending

Growth in enrollment, rather than spending per enrollee, will continue to drive Medicare and Medicaid spending growth as aging baby boomers enter Medicare and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act extends Medicaid coverage to more uninsured Americans, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. Medicare enrollment will grow much more than private coverage over the next decade because of the aging baby boomers, while Medicare expenditures per enrollee are expected to increase by only 2.7% per year, largely due to cuts in provider payments included in the ACA, the report notes. Increases in overall Medicaid spending also will continue to be driven by enrollment growth, largely because of the ACA, the report adds. “Thus, spending growth in both programs on a per enrollee basis is not ‘out of control’ and is close to the target often advocated by those concerned with the nation’s deficit,” the report concludes.  AHA News Now, April 20, 2012

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