Gov’t: Health tab to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s health care tab is on track to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020, accounting for about $1 of every $5 in the economy, government number crunchers estimate in a report out Thursday.

How much is that? Including government and private money, health care spending in 2020 will average $13,710 for every man, woman and child, says Medicare’s Office of the Actuary.
By comparison, U.S. health care spending this year is projected to top $2.7 trillion, or about $8,650 per capita, roughly $1 of $6 in the economy. Most of that spending is for care for the sickest people.

The report from Medicare economists and statisticians is an annual barometer of a trend that many experts say is unsustainable but doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A political compromise over the nation’s debt and deficits might succeed in tapping the brakes on health care, but polarized lawmakers have been unable to deliver a deal.

Government, already the dominant player because of Medicare and Medicaid, will become even more important. By 2020, federal, state and local government health care spending will account for just under half the total tab, up from 45 percent currently. As the health care law’s coverage expansion takes effect, “health care financing is anticipated to further shift toward governments,” the report said.

AP
7/27/11