CBO update: Medicare, Medicaid will spend less

The Congressional Budget Office yesterday issued an updated analysis projecting Medicare and Medicaid spending would be slower than expected over the next decade.

This marks the third consecutive year the nonpartisan agency has had to reduce Medicare spending forecasts, Reuters reported.

According to the new CBO figures, Medicare spending will drop $19 billion for 2012 and $169 billion by 2020 from earlier this year.

"The slower growth of Medicare that we've seen is consistent with slower growth in healthcare costs more generally in the economy," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told a news conference, noted Reuters.

CBO also said Medicaid would spend $375 billion fewer dollars than anticipated over the next 10 years, partly due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states can forgo Medicaid expansion under health reform.

Despite the spending slowdown, both federal programs will account for a larger share of the economy in 2020 than they do now, reported Kaiser Health News.

The new CBO figures follow a revised report issued in March, which the agency said Medicare and Medicaid spending would almost double by 2022.

For more:
- check out the CBO announcement and update (.pdf)
- here's the Reuters article
- read the KHN article