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California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HEALTH CARE COSTS: CBO Predicts Renewed Inflation

      The Congressional Budget Office released a report yesterday that "predicted a resurgence of health care inflation," even if a host of managed care regulatory proposals are not enacted by Congress this year. The New York Times reports that the CBO stated that "'laws to protect health consumers could raise private premiums,' even more, presumably by giving patients freer access to medical specialists and costly types of care." The CBO noted that over the past four years, health care spending had "stabilized at about 13.5% of gross domestic product." However, the budget office speculated that "the growth in health spending will soon accelerate," causing health expenses to reach "15.5% of GDP by 2008." In 1997, health care premiums increased an average of 3.8%, the CBO found, and should continue to "rise 5.5% this year, with similar annual increases in the coming decade" (Pear, 1/22).

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