The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released two fact sheets today on Medicare and Medicaid spending. Medicaid spending is below budget projections, but Medicare spending is above those projections:
Medicare Part D expenditures are now projected to be $34 billion lower over 5 years (2006-2010) than in the President’s Budget, and $110 billion lower than in the Mid-Session Review one year ago. The average Part D premium is almost 40 percent lower than had been projected a year ago as a result of strong competition, and 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are receiving prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part A and Part B expenditures are higher, primarily because of continuing rapid growth in the use of Medicare services. Part A projected expenditures over 5 years (2006-2010) are $17 billion higher and Part B projected expenditures over 5 years are $30 billion higher than in the President’s Budget. Rapid growth in physician-related services and hospital outpatient services are the main factors responsible for a projected increase in the Medicare Part B premium of 11 percent for next year. The continued rising costs in Medicare Part A and Part B highlight the need for reform of the original Medicare program to pay more accurately and especially to pay more for better care, not simply more services. The President’s Budget proposed building on MedPAC’s recommendations for more accurate payments to health care providers, and the adoption of performance-based payment systems.
On June 20, CMS released another fact sheet which provides more details on why CMS finds Part D prescription drug program spending is substantially below projections.