Enrollment, not costs, up Medicare, Medicaid spending

Overhauling Medicare and Medicaid won't help curb health spending, according to a Thursday report (.pdf) from policy research nonprofit the Urban Institute, which concluded that the programs aren't as "out of control" as some fiscal conservatives have suggested. Enrollment growth in both programs significantly affects spending, much more than the costs, MedPage Today reported. The report authors compared Medicare and Medicaid spending to private insurance, with Medicare enrollment outpacing private coverage because of aging baby boomers, the report stated. In Medicare, per-enrollee spending will rise 2.7 percent each year, compared to 4.9 percent spending growth per enrollee in private plans.

The report suggested the need for "continued vigilance in monitoring Medicare and Medicaid spending levels and growth." However, the report noted that doesn't mean a major restructuring of either program. Article (registration required)