The nation’s total health spending will bump up next year as the health law expands insurance coverage to more Americans, and then will grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, according to projections released Wednesday by government actuaries.
That estimate is lower than typical annual increases before the recession hit. Still, the actuaries forecast that in a decade, the health care segment of the nation’s economy will be larger than it is today, amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product in 2022.
The actuaries were not persuaded that experiments in the health law and new insurer procedures that change the way doctors, hospitals and others provide services will significantly curtain health spending.
They assumed "modest" savings from those changes from the law. "It's a little early to tell how substantial those savings will be in the longer term," Gigi Cuckler, one of the actuaries, told reporters.
The actuaries also said they are skeptical that the nation has entered a new era of lower health spending, a case that has been made by the Obama administration and many prominent economists. They have predicted a strengthening economy will not be accompanied by sharp health spending hikes. The report expects health...
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