Recently, the United States has witnessed a growth in national health spending, which previously has dropped to historic lows in the recent years. Federal actuaries stated that we should expect national health spending to increase over the next decade.
We are experiencing a growth in national health spending as a result of the increase of insurance coverage under the 2010 health law. Americans have spent 5.5% more on health care in 2015 than in 2014. Medicare and Medicaid services have also seen an increase in expenditures. Experts are crediting a strong economy and an aging population for the increases in spending.
Prescription drug spending has seen incredible spending growths in the past few years. In 2015, Americans are predicted to spend 12.6% more than they did in 2014 on prescription drugs, however we are still spending less on them compared to before the economic recession.
Some are proposing that the fact that we are witnessing an increase in health care spending is due to the fact that people can actually pay a greater share of their medical bills and use more of the services available to them thanks to Medicaid. Due to these programs, it is predicted that 8.4 million Americans will become insured by 2014 and 78.1 million people will be enrolled in Medicaid by 2024. As more people get insured, the more the country will spend on health care: 20% of the US economy by 2024 will consist of health care.
Also, as our baby boomer generation begins to age, Medicare, the federal insurance program for people age 65 and over, will have over 70.3 million enrollees in 2024. This will cost the US a lot of money as these medicare beneficiaries become increasingly expensive as they age, and become more and more high maintenance.
There will need to be measures taken so that our country doesn’t spend an unhealthy amount on medical care. There is a board currently discussing weather it would be better to ration medicare, increase taxes, or change its benefits and eligibilities. For now, we must wait for the board to decide on a plan to cut healthcare spending in the future, or at least curb it.