Medicare spending per beneficiary is projected to grow 1.6% annually through fiscal 2026, compared with 4% annually between 1985 and 2007, the Congressional Budget Office reported. However, all federal spending on health programs will account for 6.6% of gross domestic product in 2026, compared with an estimated 5.5% this year, the CBO projected.
Hospitals are working to deal with the CMS' latest quality measure, Medicare spending per beneficiary, which will link hospital payments to the performance of other providers, including hospices. Dr. Leora Horwitz of Yale University School of Medicine said hospitals may not see how cost and quality issues that occur in other facilities are something they can control, but "CMS is taking the long view, trying to change the underlying incentive structure that enables these changes to take place."
According to a report from government economists, Medicare spending growth declined from 6.2% in 2011 to 4.6% in 2012 despite an increase in enrollment, and may continue to slow down this year. However, growth is expected to accelerate to 6.2% in 2014 and likely will remain high into 2015, according to the study, which was published in Health Affairs. Meanwhile, a Congressional Budget Office report projects national spending on health care will reach 22% of gross domestic product by 2038.
Congressional Budget Office data show Medicare spending has been growing at a slower pace, about 3% over the past year, and researchers said it could be linked to how health care is delivered. They suggested lower hospital admission rates for Medicare beneficiaries may be a product of more end-of-life care provided at lower-cost hospices instead.
Health care providers who treat Medicare patients with chronic conditions could receive higher reimbursements under a proposed CMS rule open for comment until Sept. 6. Primary care physicians who provide "non-face-to-face complex chronic care management services for Medicare beneficiaries who have multiple, significant chronic conditions," or two or more conditions, would receive a separate payment, effective in 2015. Doctors who provide telehealth services in designated health professional shortage areas would also receive expanded reimbursements.