New Report on National Health Expenditures

The CMS Office of the Actuary (OACT) released an update today regarding their annual National Health Expenditures report. The Office of the Actuary does a report on National Health expenditures annually every March. This year, when they put out their report, they indicated that Congress was poised to enact the health reform law and that they intended to publish an update after they had reviewed the law. This is that update. It is consistent with OACT’s earlier analysis of the law that was submitted to Congress by Rick Foster of the Office of the Actuary in April.

Today’s report by the Office of the Actuary confirms a central point of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama: The Act will make health care more affordable for Americans. In fact, the Actuary’s report indicates that total health care spending per insured American will be more than $1000 lower thanks to the provisions of the new law than it would have been if Congress and the President had not acted.

Specifically, by 2019, overall health spending per insured person will average $14,720 instead of the $16,120 projected by the Actuary before the Act was enacted into law. This is great news for many Americans. More good news for American consumers: The Actuary predicts out of pocket spending on health care services per person will decline an average of 6% to $1,310, a savings of $80 per person per year. This means more money in people’s pockets.

Finally, the Actuary’s report confirms that 33 million Americans who are living without health insurance today will gain coverage. While this will result in a short-term increase in spending (as uninsured people begin to receive the care they have postponed or gone without), the rate of growth in spending will slow in the second half of this decade. A close look at this report’s data suggest that for average Americans, the Affordable Care Act will live up to its promise.