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Health Plan Won't Fuel Big Spending, Report Says

The New York Times, September 9, 2010, September 9, 2010

WASHINGTON -- A new government study says President Obama's health care law will have negligible effects on total national health spending in the next 10 years, neither slowing nor fueling the explosive growth of medical costs.

About 32.5 million people will gain coverage, and health spending will grow slightly faster than projected under prior law at an annual rate of 6.3 percent, rather than 6.1 percent, the report said.

The government report, by the office of the chief Medicare actuary, undermines the claims of the law's fiercest critics and some of its biggest champions.

Cuts in Medicare spending, which start in the next few months, and a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, which takes effect in 2018, will largely offset the cost of expanding Medicaid and subsidizing private insurance for low-income people, said the report, being published online Thursday by the journal Health Affairs.