Medicare Spending Slowed Significantly in Recent Years

In early September 2023, newspaper articles, including one in the The New York Times on September 4, 2023, noted that Medicare spending slowed dramatically in the decade from 2010-2020.

The articles were the result of a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) describing the trends in Medicare spending. The CBO analysis was done for the U.S. Senate’s Budget Committee.

The CBO report and The New York Times articles both describe the overall trends in Medicare spending and how spending shrunk even while spending in almost all areas grew during the same period. The CBO did not provide possible explanations, but the articles mention that evidence suggests providers have become more efficient in delivering care as a major reason for the spending slow down.

The reduced spending on Medicare has had as a significant impact on keeping the U.S. Government deficit lower than it would otherwise have been, and the impact is estimated as up to $3.9 trillion less in spending than if Medicare spending had stayed on the same pace as in previous decades.

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