CBO: Federal Healthcare Expenses Set to Double Over Next Decade

Spending for Medicare, Medicaid and all other government healthcare programs is expected to double between 2012 and 2022, from $847 billion this fiscal year to a total of $1.8 trillion in 2022, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (pdf).

That spending, which will increase by an average of roughly 8 percent per year, is expected to represent roughly 7.3 percent of the United States' gross domestic product in 2022.

Medicare is the biggest driver of the projected increases, as the program's expenses account for about half of the estimated growth, according to the report. Gross spending for Medicare is expected to reach $560 billion this year, roughly the same amount as last year.

However, one of the biggest issues with Medicare is the sustainable growth rate, which determines Medicare payments to physicians. Currently, if the SGR is not repealed or altered by March 1, 2012, Medicare payments to physicians will be cut 27.4 percent. A 10-year fix of the SGR would cost about $316 billion, higher than the CBO's earlier estimate of $290 billion. "If those [physician] payments were increased over time, the impact on Medicare outlays would be even greater," the report said.

Related Articles on Healthcare Expenses:

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Healthcare CEOs of the Round Table: Organizational Strategies for 2012

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