Modest healthcare spending growth predicted between now and 2014, report projects

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Consumer healthcare spending is expected to grow at a relatively modest rate between now and 2014, due largely to the struggling economy, a federal report predicts.

A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report released Tuesday found that healthcare spending only grew 3.9% in 2011, which is roughly the same rate of growth registered since 2009, according to the report. CMS expects health spending to jump 7.4% if the Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014 or at least by 5.3% if the law is deemed unconstitutional.

CMS made its projections based on an assumption that a proposed 2% cut in Medicare spending, as well as a 31% reduction in Medicare physician pay, will go into effect.

Assuming the ACA is upheld, CMS predicts an 18% spike in state and federal Medicaid spending due to a major expansion of the program. Medicaid, the biggest payer of skilled nursing care, is due add 20 million people to its rolls in 2014.

Click here to read the report, which was published Tuesday in Health Affairs.