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U.S. Healthcare Expenses Overtake Social Security For First Time, Public Debt Fueling Financial Crisis

( [email protected] ) Jan 26, 2016 12:47 PM EST
Last year was the first time in history that healthcare spending exceeded what the nation was receiving in Social Security payments from the work force. The CBO reported on Monday that Medicare, Medicaid, The Children's Health Program and Obamacare all combined meant that the nation had forked over $936 billion, which is $54 billion more than Social Security received in labor force payments. That along with the 2016 federal deficit increase and significant increases in public debt means that a national financial crisis is looming that would last for decades.
Medical records clerks work in Clinica Sierra Vista's East Bakersfield Community Health Center Reuters

Last year was the first time in history that health care spending exceeded what the nation was receiving in Social Security payments from the workforce. The CBO reported on Monday that Medicare, Medicaid, The Children's Health Program and Obamacare all combined meant that the nation had forked over $936 billion, which is $54 billion more than Social Security received in labor force payments. That along with the 2016 federal deficit increase and significant increases in public debt means that national financial crisis is looming that would last for decades.

The CBO notes that Social Security spending increased by $37 billion in 2015, which was an increase of four percent. But health spending increased by 13 percent, up to $105 billion in 2014. Medicaid was the largest portion -- a 16 percent increase.

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act, or ACA) is being pointed out by the CBO as the reason for the increase: "The sharp rise over the past two years occurred mainly because of new enrollees added by the 30 states plus the District of Columbia that had adopted the optional expansion of coverage authorized by the ACA," and that additional deficit increases are expected over the course of a minimum of the next ten years.

Also, spending on mandatory programs increased by $200 billion, or 9.5 percent in 2015. It's anticipated that 11 million people will receive their health care through federally funded health insurance subsidies in 2016.

The CBO states, "If current laws generally remained unchanged, the deficit would grow over the next 10 years, and by 2026 it would be considerably larger than its average over the past 50 years. The 2016 deficit that CBO currently projects is $130 billion higher than the one that the agency projected in August 2015. That increase is largely attributable to legislation enacted since August -- in particular, the retroactive extension of a number of provisions that reduce corporate and individual income taxes."

The anticipated hike in healthcare costs will likely add some fuel the election year battles where fiscal responsibility is concerned for the nation, and bring about a renewed pledge from many of the Republican presidential candidates to repeal and replace Obamacare and make spending cuts. Democrat presidential candidates will likely counter with strengthening it through increased prescription drug industry regulations.

Conservative Paul Ryan is the House Speaker and has also been the budget committee chairman in the past. He has been known for writing budget proposals for reducing entitlement programs while also cutting taxes.

The present House Budget Committee Chairman, Tom Price (R-Ga.), said in a statement, "House Republicans are hard at work putting together a plan that presents bold, positive solutions to address our economic and fiscal challenges. We will save and strengthen vital health, retirement and economic security programs that must be reformed if we are to keep those promises to future generations."

Tags : healthcare, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, 2016 presidential race, U.S. economy