Spending projections fuel debate
Cuts, changes needed to prevent ‘substantial harm’
Members of Congress are talking about tax increases and additional healthcare spending cuts after their nonpartisan accounting office reported that federal healthcare spending will more than double in the next decade.
The Congressional Budget Office reported that total federal healthcare spending on socalled mandatory programs—including on Medicare and Medicaid—will grow from $847 billion in the current fiscal year to $1.8 trillion in fiscal 2022.
“Because of the aging of the population and rising costs for healthcare, the set of budget policies that were in effect in the past cannot be maintained in the future,” the CBO report’s authors wrote.
The report concluded that in order to keep the rising federal debt that is paying for much of that healthcare spending growth from causing “substantial harm” to the economy, policymakers will need to increase taxes or enact “major changes” to federal healthcare programs, or both.
Congressional Democrats generally emphasized tax increases in the days following CBO’S latest gloomy budget projections. For instance, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) called for enactment of “a big and balanced deficit reduction plan this year.” “It is clear from the CBO’S forecast that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans can be a part of that solution,” Hoyer said in a written statement.
For Republicans, the report reinforced earlier calls to scrap costly provisions of the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul and enact cost-control changes to the major healthcare programs.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-utah), ranking member of the Finance Committee, which oversees
Rep. Dave Camp hinted it’s unlikely that potential war savings will be used to help fix the troubled SGR.