The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn listens to questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in the Reuters newsroom in Washington, Nov. 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn listens to questions during the Reuters Washington Summit in the Reuters newsroom in Washington, Nov. 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)  

Coburn: Medicaid has increased in cost by more than 31,212 percent in 46 years

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is shining a light on the increase in health-care costs over the years in a new report obtained by The Daily Caller Tuesday.

According to Coburn, regardless of whether Obamacare delivers on the president’s promises, history can teach two things: “First, the federal government’s spending on health-care programs usually outpaces economic growth… Second, compared with initial government estimates and outlays, most programs have experienced exponential growth in real terms when compared to initial estimates.”

Using government data, in his report Coburn compares the initial spending and participation of each federal health-care program to its recent outlays in inflation adjusted terms.

Coburn, a medical doctor by trade, begins with Medicaid, highlighting that when the program was at its inception in 1966, it cost $800 million and had an enrollment of 4 million people. In 2012, Medicaid spent $250.5 billion on 55.6 million people — a cost increase of 31,212.5 percent and enrollment increase of 1,290 percent over 46 years.

Likewise, according to Coburn’s report, the various aspects of Medicare have skyrocketed in cost and enrollments. In 1967, the program spent $2.8 billion; in 2012, it spent $471.8 billion — a 16,750 percent increase in cost in 45 years. From 1966 to 2010, the enrollees in Medicare Part A, B and C increased by 149.2 percent, 148.9 percent and 807.9 percent, respectively; and from 1974 to 2008, the number of End Stage Renal Disease enrollees increased by 4,022 percent.

Defense health programs have also been party to the increases, the report continues, with defense health programs in 1980 spending $3.7 billion, compared to $53.5 billion in 2012 — a 134.9 percent increase in 32 years. And from 1995 to 2011, the number of eligible enrollees in TRICARE increased about 17 percent — from  8.3 million to 9.7 million.

Medical care for veterans also increased from $1.1 billion in 1962 to $50.6 billion in 2012 — an increase in 4,500 percent in 50 years.

Other health-care programs, like the Indian Health Service and State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also adhered to the upward trend — increasing 155.3 percent in enrollment in 43 years and 163.6 percent in 11 years respectively.

“Based on a review of the facts, readers have solid ground for concluding the federal government has a poor track record of constraining health-care spending over time. Accordingly, in light of the reality of past trends, concern about the trajectory of the future health-care spending – whether in the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs — is well placed,” Coburn writes.

Health Costs Report:


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