Health Spending Growth 0.2% Higher Through 2019

America's health care bill will rise as a result of President Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in March, according to an analysis from Medicare's Office of the Actuary, but by just 0.2% higher through 2019, and that includes an extra 32 million uninsured individuals gaining health care coverage. The analysis is published in the medical journal Health Affairs.

The analysis "National Health Spending Projections: The Estimated Impact Of Reform Through 2019" presents updated national health spending projections for 2009-2019. The projections take into account recent health reform legislation and other relevant changes in law and regulations.

The authors write:
Relative to our February 2010 projections under prior law, average annual growth in national health spending over the projection period is estimated to be 0.2 percentage point higher than our previous estimate. The health care share of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to be 0.3 percentage point higher in 2019.

In other words, health care spending will grow at an annual rate of 6.3%, rather than the 6.1% that was projected before Obama's law.

Co-author, Andrea M. Sisko, an economist in the Office of the Actuary, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in Baltimore, Maryland described the impact as "moderate".

An average American will be paying $13,652 per person annually in 2019 for health care as a result of the new law, compared to $13,287 without it - an increase of $265, the report estimates.

On a national scale, the cost with Obama's revamping is $4.6 trillion, compared to $4.5 trillion without his overhaul.

American media today report that both parties, Democrats and Republicans, can argue that it is too much, or the other way round. Republicans say they will vote the overhaul down if they gain control of Congress this coming autumn; whether they are be able to have enough votes to override the President's veto is doubtful.

With health care spending reaching 19.6% of the national economy by the end 2019, from 17.3% today, critics may comment on resources being taken away from, for example, transportation or education.

Supporters will argue that for a very slight increase in costs, 93% of the eligible Americans will enjoy health care coverage.

Health care spending is expected to rise rapidly in 2014 when most Americans will have to have insurance. The reports states that from 2013 to 2014 spending on health care will rise by 9.2% (February's estimate was 6.6%).

The report estimates that health spending will slow down slightly from 2015 through 2019.

A significant number of employers will probably lower the value of their plans in 2018 to avoid the tax on expensive insurance plans, the authors write.

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