I just received a blast email from our friends at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The subject line reads:
Medicare & Medicaid Spending Projections Are Down Again
At $2.696 trillion, outlays for 2006 are now estimated to be $12 billion lower than the level estimated in February, accounting for 10 percent of the reduction in the 2006 deficit. The lower estimate of 2006 outlays results primarily from reductions in the projected growth rates for Medicare and Medicaid, particularly estimates of the cost of Medicare’s new prescription drug benefit program... However, in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service programs, projections of increased spending outstrip these savings in the long-term and as a result, total spending in the Medicare and Medicaid programs continues to grow at unsustainable rates.
(My colleague Jagadeesh Gokhale will evaluate the Bush administration's claims about Medicaid spending in a subsequent post.)