Medicare and Medicaid spending rose 10% in the second quarter from a year earlier to a combined annual rate of almost $992 billion, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The two programs are on track to rise $90 billion in 2011 and crack the $1 trillion milestone for the first time.
The jump in health care spending is the biggest since the Medicare prescription drug benefit was added five years ago and ends a brief lull in the spending increases that occurred during the economic downturn.
But what did we do last year? We passed a law that expanded Medicaid by 16 million people and created a new set of private health insurance subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line, or almost $90,000 for a family of four.