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Medicaid costs skyrocket 31,000 percent in 46 years

You think the federal government has a good track record for restraining costs for Medicaid and Medicare? Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has obtained a new report by The Daily Caller Tuesday and says it’s time to question whether giving government more power over health care is really a good idea.



According to the report, Coburn believes we can learn two things: “The federal government’s spending on health-care programs [Medicaid and Medicare] usually outpaces economic growth and compared with initial government estimates and outlays, most programs have experienced exponential growth in real terms when compared to initial estimates.”

What about Medicaid and Medicare?


 

First, Coburn reviewed Medicaid. Coburn reports that Medicaid was established in 1966 and at that time there were 4 million people enrolled at an estimated cost of $800 million (number adjusted for inflation.” Fast forward to 2012. Now we have an estimated 55.6 million on the Medicaid program with an estimated cost of $250.5 billion. This is a startling increase. In fact, according to Coburn, this is “a cost increase of 31,212.5 percent and enrollment increase of 1,290 percent over 46 years for Medicaid.”

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. If you delve a bit deeper into the numbers there have also been massive increases in Medicare spending. For instance, according to Coburn, “in 1967, the program spent $2.8 billion; in 2012, it spent $471.8 billion — a 16,750 percent increase in cost in 45 years.”

But it’s not just Medicaid and Medicare. The federal government has also increased the amount of money they spend on programs for veterans with an estimated “$1.1 billion spent in 1962 to $50.6 billion in 2012 — an increase in 4,500 percent in 50 years.”

What does this mean for the federal government and healthcare?


 

What is the point in Coburn’s research? The federal government has a lousy track record for offering competitive services and keeping costs low. If we want to reduce the cost of health care the last entity that needs to be involved is the government. They are completely unable to constrain health-care spending over time.

What about Obamacare? Not only has the Obamacare roll-out been a major debacle, it seems the clear intention of those on the left is to eventually end up with socialized medicine and a single payer system. Unfortunately, in light of the reality of past trends, concern about the trajectory of the future health-care spending should give all of us pause.

While it’s critical that Americans have access to affordable and effective medical care, it’s time to stop and question whether the federal government can provide this service.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, “health-care spending is expected to reach 20% of U.S. economy by 2021. An aging population, improving economy and President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul will push spending on medical services to almost 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product by 2021, the government projected.” Maybe it’s time to evaluate other potential solutions to our growing healthcare problems.