GAO Report: Affordable Care Act Adds $6.2 Trillion to Long-Term Deficit

  1. Is anyone with an IQ above 20 actually surpirsed by this report?

    link to the GAO report
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    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 431; Likes: 177


  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    GAO Report:
    GAO-13-281, Jan 31, 2013

    Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

    Effect on Long-Term Federal Budget Outlook Largely Depends on Whether Cost Containment Sustained

  4. by   MunoRN
    The report didn't say ACA would increase the deficit, it said that so long as we don't get rid of the cost savings measures it will reduce the deficit, but if we repeal or otherwise do away only the portions that save money, it will cost more which will cancel out the deficit reducing effect of the ACA and cause it to add to the deficit.

    Assuming the law is enforced as-is, the U.S. deficit will decline 1.5 percent as a share of the economy over the next 75 years, according to the GAO. Auditors attributed 1.2 percent of this improvement to the Affordable Care Act.
    Under a different set of assumptions, the law has the opposite effect over time, the GAO said -- the deficit will increase by 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) if the law's cost-containment measures are phased out.
    This "different set of assumptions" came from Jeff Sessions, who asked the GAO to produce a report calculating the effect of getting rid of all the ACA cost savings measures (you don't really need a GAO report to tell you that something will cost more if you cut out the savings), which I'm sure was not at all for the purpose of being able to then misleadingly claim that the ACA adds to the deficit.
  5. by   heron
    I haven't fully digested this article, yet, but it does bear on the subject of costs and cost containment in the ACA.
    Conservatives love to apply "cost-benefit analysis" to government programs--except in health care. In fact, working with drug companies and warning of "death panels," they slipped language into Obamacare banning cost-effectiveness research. Here's how that happened, and why it can't stand.

    ...The stunning inefficiency of the U.S. health care system as a whole is now beyond dispute. To see the magnitude of aggregate waste, one only has to look at the gross disparities in how medicine is practiced in different parts of the country and with what results.

    The best-known work in this area comes from the Dartmouth Atlas Project. For more than a decade, researchers there have systematically reviewed the medical records of deceased Medicare patients nationwide, including those who suffered from specific chronic conditions during their last two years of life. And by doing so, the researchers have uncovered striking anomalies that point to vast inefficiencies.

    ...Yet while we know the system as a whole is grossly inefficient, it remains easy for those responsible for the waste to escape detection, let alone accountability. The biggest single reason is that, due to the insistence of conservatives allied with drug manufacturers and medical device makers, the federal government is not allowed to consider the cost-effectiveness of different treatments in deciding how to invest health care dollars.
    The article goes on to describe the political infighting that prevented any real assessment of the inefficiencies of the health care system ... including the "death panel" fairy tale.

    On first read, it kind of reminds me of the Medicare drug coverage legislation that explicitly forbids Medicare from bargaining over prices.

    It never fails to amaze me ... forbid the government from doing it's job, then complain because the job is not getting done.
  6. by   azhiker96
    If the deficit only decreases by 1.5% of a share of the economy over the next 75 years I don't think it will matter much. By then the service on the debt will be the largest portion of our economy. I agree with this from the summary page of the GAO report.

    However, the federal budget remains on an unsustainable path.
  7. by   tewdles
    What is clear is that we need to continue to reform our health system, at least IMHO.
  8. by   herring_RN
    Soaring Prices, Not Demand, Behind Massive Hike in U.S. HealthSpending

    Contrary to popular belief, the biggest reason for the rise in U.S. health care spending is not an aging population or patient demand but rather the increasing costs of drugs, procedures and hospital care, a new study finds.
    Researchers found that since 2000, those yearly price increases have accounted for 91 percent of the rise in national health care spending, which totaled $2.7 trillion in 2011....

    ... The new study, reported in the Nov. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is an attempt to add more actual data to the debate.
    In the current political climate, Moses said, "rational discussions based on valid information" are hard to come by.
    "But the fact is," he said, "we spend more on health care than other developed countries, and the U.S. still lags behind in outcomes."...

    ... What they found counters some conventional beliefs. First, price increases have driven the increase in health care costs since 2000. The price of drugs and devices has risen by about 4 percent a year, on average. Hospital charges have shown a similar increase. Meanwhile, administrative costs -- what doctors and hospitals expend getting payments from insurers and patients -- have gone up by nearly 6 percent each year.

    And "market forces" don't come into play. "Patients never see 90 percent of these costs," Moses said, and even doctors may not know how much a treatment costs. With medical devices, like implantable heart devices, for example, hospitals sign confidentiality agreements with manufacturers that prevent them from sharing price information -- and knowing whether they are getting a good deal or not....
  9. by   herring_RN
    I think an improved Medicare for All should be available to all Americans.

    Some would say that people who cannot afford healthcare should have bettered themselves. Some may say that old people should just die when they have used a certain amount of healthcare.

    As a critical care nurse I have seen unessary suffering in the last days or weeks of life. I am in favor of discussing code status with patients and of people having an advance directive. i do not think anyone should be denied healthcare, food, clean air and water. All should have their needs met.

    Then those who are lucky, talented, and/or hard working should then have all the riches they get.
  10. by   Pudnluv
    The report says that if cost containment measures are not sustained, the deficit will increase. It also state that the majority of the cost increase is due to technological advancement and a aging population, not the ACA.

    It never ceases to amaze me how people can take "sound bites" and skew the data to meet their agenda.