Medicare, Medicaid Controlled Healthcare Spending Better than Private Insurers — Study

Medicare and Medicaid have been useful in lowering growth in spending, according to a study that compares government-sponsored health insurance programs with private insurers.

The paper, published by The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank on economic and social policies, found that spending per enrollee in Medicare and Medicaid grew 2.4% per year and 1.6% per year, respectively. These are lower compared to the 4.4% per year for private insurance. The authors of the report attribute the figures on the faster enrollment growth in public health insurance programs compared to private coverage.

In an interview, John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute and one of the authors of the study, said the findings of this paper revealed pushing for a dramatic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid to control the nation’s expenditures on healthcare is not needed. Instead, the government should investigate the bigger spending problem of Americans with private health coverage.

Meanwhile, another report found the rising prices in health care led to a record-high surge in average annual spending for people with employer-sponsored insurance.

The 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report published by the Health Care Cost Institute, shows that healthcare spending, which includes medical and pharmacy payments without manufacturer rebates increased to $5,641 in 2017. The paper also found that total average prices in healthcare rose 3.6% in 2017 while out-of-pocket expenses per person, including payments for healthcare services and medicine covered by health plans, increased 2.6% in the same year.

Moreover, the prices of professional services increased by 3.5% and prescription drugs by 1.4% in 2017.