Medicare ‘Giveback’ Leads to 8.4% Spending Increase
Medicare spending rose 8.4% in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2001, according to Congressional Budget Office figures, the AP/Omaha World-Herald reports. Between October 2000 and July 2001, Medicare spent $197 billion, compared with $181 billion for the same period in fiscal year 2000. For the entire year, Medicare spending is expected to rise a total of 10%, "well above" last year's 3% rise, budget analysts estimate. The increase is due to adjusted reimbursement rates -- known as "givebacks" -- to doctors and hospitals to compensate for cuts made by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The AP/World-Herald reports that when Congress returns in September, it will have to decide whether to approve more givebacks, as well as how to spend the $300 billion set aside in the budget to overhaul Medicare and add a prescription drug benefit (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 8/15). Information about increases in Medicare spending, as well as overall government spending for the first 10 months of fiscal 2001, can be found on the CBO Web site at http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=2981&sequence=0&from=7.