Gov't Report: Health Cost Relief Only Temporary

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Associated Press + More

—The new law will increase national health spending by nearly a half trillion dollars, not counting other costs related to its implementation. That's a big number, but in the grand scheme it's only about 1 percent of the $39.5 trillion the nation will spend from 2011-2021. The people newly covered are expected to be younger and healthier, contributing only marginally to rising costs.

—Some large employers with low-wage workers are expected drop coverage, opting to pay the government a fine and send their employees into Medicaid or the new health insurance exchanges where subsidized private insurance will be available. However, employer-based insurance will remain the largest single source of coverage, accounting for 171 million people in 2021. Medicaid, the second-largest, will cover 85 million.

—Government at all levels will account for nearly half the nation's health spending in 2021, up from 46 percent in 2011.

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