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CBO's Analysis of Health Care Spending and Policy Proposals

Presentation by Philip Ellis, CBO’s Deputy Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis, to staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This presentation describes CBO’s general approach to policy analysis and its role in supporting the Congress; summarizes several elements of the agency’s projections of health care spending; and reviews examples of policy proposals and approaches affecting health care that CBO has analyzed recently.

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CBO's Analysis of Health Care Spending and Policy Proposals

  1. 1. Congressional Budget Office CBO’s Analysis of Health Care Spending and Policy Proposals Presentation for staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce September 21, 2016 Philip Ellis Deputy Assistant Director Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division
  2. 2. 1CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO’s General Approach to Policy Analysis
  3. 3. 2CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO was created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The agency started operating in February 1975. CBO has about 230 full-time staff, more than three-fourths of whom hold advanced degrees in economics, public policy, or related fields.
  4. 4. 3CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO provides objective, nonpartisan information to the Congress. The agency makes baseline projections of federal spending, revenues, and deficits under current law.
  5. 5. 4CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO produces estimates of the effects of changes in federal policies, including: • legislation being developed by Congressional committees; and • conceptual proposals being discussed in the Congress or elsewhere. CBO makes no recommendations.
  6. 6. 5CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO’s estimates focus on the next 10 years but sometimes look out 20 years or more. The estimates are meant to reflect the middle of the distribution of possible outcomes, and they incorporate behavioral responses to the extent feasible.
  7. 7. 6CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO’s estimates use whatever evidence can be brought to bear, given available resources and time. The estimates can change in response to new analysis by CBO and others, and the agency provides explanations of the analysis to the extent feasible.
  8. 8. 7CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO’s Analysis of Federal Spending on Health Care
  9. 9. 8CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE National Spending for Health Care, 2014
  10. 10. 9CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Components of Federal Spending Percentage of Gross Domestic Product “Major health care programs” consists of spending on Medicare (net of offsetting receipts), Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, as well as outlays to subsidize health insurance purchased through the marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act and related spending.
  11. 11. 10CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO expects that, between 2016 and 2046, gross federal spending on major health care programs as a share of GDP will increase by 4 percentage points, from 6.1 percent to 10.1 percent.
  12. 12. 11CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE 1.8 percentage points come from population aging, mostly because aging makes more people eligible for Medicare and increases costs per enrollee. 2.2 percentage points come from excess cost growth, meaning that spending per beneficiary, adjusted for demographic changes, will grow more quickly than potential GDP per capita.
  13. 13. 12CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Estimated and Projected Rates of Excess Cost Growth in Spending for Health Care Percent 1985– 2014 2017– 2026 2027 2046 1985– 2014 2017– 2026 2027 2046 1988– 2014 2017– 2026 2027 2046 0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 Medicare Medicaid Private Health Insurance
  14. 14. 13CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Comparing CBO’s Projections of Medicare’s Fee Schedule Updates to Estimates of Price Inflation 2017 2020 2023 2026 Hospital Market Basket Increasea 2.7 3.2 3.1 3.0 Hospital Fee Schedule Updateb 0.15 2.7 2.7 1.9 Physician Fee Schedule Updatec 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.25 or 0.75 Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (by calendar year) 0.3 2.4 2.4 2.4 Percentage Points a. The market basket increase measures changes in the average prices of goods and services that hospitals use to provide care. b. Applies only to hospitals paid under Medicare's inpatient prospective payment system. c. Annual updates are specified in law. Between 2019 and 2024, physicians participating in an "alternative payment model" (as defined in law and regulation) may receive a bonus payment from Medicare each year; starting in 2026, fees for those physicians are scheduled to increase by 0.75 percent per year and fees for other physicians are scheduled to increase by 0.25 percent per year.
  15. 15. 14CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Health Insurance Coverage in 2016 for People Under Age 65 Uninsured Other Medicare Nongroup Coverage Medicaid and Children's Health Insurange Program Employment-Based Coverage 0 40 80 120 160 Millions of People
  16. 16. 15CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Net Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance for People Under 65 Billions of Dollars 2016 2017–2026 Employment-Based Coverage 268 3,629 Medicaid and CHIPa 279 3,790 Nongroup Coverage and Basic Health Plan 48 919 Medicareb 80 979 Taxes and Penalties Related to Coverage -15 -441 ______________ ______________________ Net Subsidies 660 8,877 a. For Medicaid, includes only outlays for medical services for noninstitutionalized enrollees under age 65 who have full benefits. b. Outlays for benefits net of offsetting receipts (such as premiums) for noninstitutionalized Medicare beneficiaries under age 65.
  17. 17. 16CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Estimated Effects of the ACA on Health Insurance Coverage in 2016 for People Under Age 65 Uninsured Other Nongroup Plans and Other Coverage Marketplaces and Basic Health Program Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program Employment-Based Coverage -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 Millions of People
  18. 18. 17CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO and JCT’s Estimates of the Net Budgetary Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 0 50 100 150 200 Cost Estimate for ACA, March 2010 August 2012 Baseline March 2015 Baseline March 2016 Baseline Billions of Dollars, by Fiscal Year
  19. 19. 18CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Estimated Effects on Deficits of Repealing the Affordable Care Act 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 -50 -25 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 Without Macroeconomic Feedback With Macroeconomic Feedback Billions of Dollars, by Fiscal Year
  20. 20. 19CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Average Premiums for Employment-Based Plans Dollars 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 Family Premiums Single Premiums
  21. 21. 20CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Examples of Policy Proposals and Approaches that CBO Has Analyzed Recently
  22. 22. 21CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE CBO has analyzed a broad range of possible approaches designed to reduce spending, including: • Reducing federal subsides • Paying Medicare providers in different ways • Making broader structural changes in Medicare or Medicaid • Improving the health of the population
  23. 23. 22CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Cutting federal subsidies for health insurance would help the budget but would leave affected people to bear higher costs.
  24. 24. 23CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Federal policies could: • Narrow eligibility for ACA subsidies or repeal them • Reduce the ACA subsidy per enrollee • Reduce the tax subsidy for employment- based health insurance • Raise the eligibility age for Medicare • Increase premiums for Medicare • IncreaseMedicare’scost-sharingrequirements
  25. 25. 24CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Paying Medicare providers in different ways could help the budget but would have a range of effects on providers and beneficiaries.
  26. 26. 25CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Possible federal policies include shifting to new payment models and bundling payments for related services. Federal savings would be achieved only if providers were paid less in total than under current law, either because they would be delivering fewer and less complex services or because they would be receiving less money per service.
  27. 27. 26CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Making larger structural changes to federal health care programs could help the budget but would have a range of effects on providers and beneficiaries.
  28. 28. 27CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE One option is to cap payments to states for Medicaid; federal payments could be a block grant or a per capita amount and could be indexed in various ways. Another is to adopt a “premium support” system for Medicare; benchmarks could be set in various ways and people near retirement could be “grandfathered” into the current system.
  29. 29. 28CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Effects of Illustrative Premium Support Systems on Spending for Medicare Benefits Percent
  30. 30. 29CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Policy initiatives that improved health would help people but might or might not produce savings for the federal budget.
  31. 31. 30CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE There are many steps between a policy initiative aimed at improving health and its budgetary effects.
  32. 32. 31CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE In general, the policy would need to change people’s behavior, which could be difficult. Changes in behavior would then need to improve people’s health, which could take some time. Improvements in health would then need to reduce health care costs, which could also take some time.
  33. 33. 32CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE The budgetary effects of policy initiatives depend on a combination of factors: • Any reduction in annual health care costs per person • Any increase in tax revenues from better health and increases in federal spending from people living longer • Any budgetary cost or savings of the policy itself
  34. 34. 33CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Conclusion
  35. 35. 34CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Federal lawmakers often strive for policies that both reduce the growth of federal health care spending and improve the effectiveness of the national health care system.
  36. 36. 35CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Designing federal policies to achieve both of those goals is challenging. Most policies have significant disadvantages as well as advantages. How health insurers, health care providers, and individuals would respond to most policies is uncertain.

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Presentation by Philip Ellis, CBO’s Deputy Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis, to staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This presentation describes CBO’s general approach to policy analysis and its role in supporting the Congress; summarizes several elements of the agency’s projections of health care spending; and reviews examples of policy proposals and approaches affecting health care that CBO has analyzed recently.

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