The President uses his bully pulpit

President Bush held another roundtable discussion on health care issues in Chattanooga, TN today. HHS Secretary Leavitt and Tennessee’s governor participated in the meeting. On a related note, CMS researchers published a report in Health Affairs concluding that as a result of Medicare Part D, the government is now picking up 45% of the Nation’s health care tab, which is expected to double by 2016. The abstract reads as follows:

Growth in national health spending is projected to slow slightly from 6.9
percent in 2005 to 6.8 percent in 2006, marking the fourth consecutive year
of a slowing trend. The health share of gross domestic product (GDP) is
expected to hold steady in 2006 before resuming its historical upward trend,
reaching 19.6 percent of GDP by 2016. Prescription drug spending growth is
expected to accelerate to 6.5 percent in 2006. Medicare prescription drug
coverage has dramatically changed the distribution of drug spending
among payers, but the net effect on aggregate spending is anticipated to be

Fun fact to know and tell — At a healthcare conference that I attended last week at American University, a speaker said that Medicaid’s prescription drug costs are only 10% of the total expenses due to the statutorily mandated price controls. The prescription drug expenses in FEHB plans and ERISA plans tend to range from two to three times higher. Quite a difference.