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Health care spending

Runaway Health Care Spending to Further Deepen U.S. National Debt

Sunday, August 24, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: health care spending, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Health care spending in the United States is expected to double by 2017 to an unprecedented $4.3 trillion, according to a report written by economists from the U.S. government Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and published in the journal Health Affairs.

Already accounting for 16.3 of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007, health care spending is expected to rise to 19.5 percent over the following 10 years. In 2007, $2.2 trillion was spent on medical care in the United States.

The increase in health care's contribution to the GDP arises from the fact that while the GDP is only projected to grow by 2.4 percent per year between now and 2017, health-care spending is anticipated to grow by 4.7 percent a year.

While those numbers account for both private and public health-care spending, government health care costs are expected to bear a large part of this growth, as the first of the Baby Boom generation hits 65 in 2011 and becomes eligible for Medicare.

The CMS report estimates that Medicare spending will rise from the 2007 level of $427 billion to $884 billion in 2017, accounting for more than 20 percent of the national total. Total spending on Medicaid, a federal-state health care partnership for low income people, is expected to hit $717 billion, accounting for roughly 17 percent of the national total.

"The cost of health care continues to be a real and pressing concern," said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems. "Making sure we are paying for high quality health-care services, not just the number of services provided, is just one of the most critical issues facing the American public and the federal government now and in the future."

An estimated 47 million people in the United States, more than 15 percent of the population, lack any kind health care.

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