The good news: Health reform will add approximately 34 million currently uninsured Americans to the rolls. The bad: The bitterly disputed overhaul will increase national healthcare spending by $311 billion from 2010 to 2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent, tipping spending during the decade past $35 trillion. So says the first report from neutral economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department.
Although the report acknowledged that cost-cutting initiatives such as Medicare cuts, a tax on high-cost insurance and a commission to seek ongoing Medicare savings could reduce the rate of spending increases by 2020, it stated that the costs of insurance expansion would overwhelm the savings for the first decade.
While Republicans found validation to their criticism against the bill in the report, Democrats remained positive. "The Affordable Care Act will improve the health care system for all Americans, and we will continue our work to quickly and carefully implement the new law," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.