As we posted yesterday, Medicare spending per capita has slowed since enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, that retardation is now a thing of the past.
While Medicare spending did slow in 2010, it “was already speeding up in 2011, rising 6.2 percent after a 4.3 percent gain in 2010,” reports the Journal’s Matthew Heimer. As we reported yesterday, some of that growth can be attributed to the Baby Boomer bulge as the Woodstock generation hits retirement. “But per-enrollee spending for Medicare also grew faster than it did for private health plans, and by that measure, Medicare’s growth rate in 2011 was double that of 2010’s,” Heimer writes.
While the growth is still well below pre-recession levels and, as Heimer notes, many of the mechanisms in the ACA designed to restrict spending will not take effect until 2014, “you can expect these Medicare numbers to get some time in the spotlight when Congress and White House jump back into the deficit-reduction battle later this year.”