The Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) press office has recently
reported that health care spending increased by 4.4% in 1996, which turns
out to be the lowest rate in 37 years. The report also says that public
sector health care spending growth has also slowed. Medicare outlays increased
in 1996 by 8.1%, down from 10.6% in 1995. Changes being implemented through
the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 should slow Medicare growth even further.
HCFA actuaries who wrote the report project that Medicare spending growth
per enrollee should drop from the 1996 rate of 6.5% to 2.5% in 1998. n