Healthcare spending is rising again, growing 5,5 percent in 2014 from 2013 and projected to climb 5.3 percent this year. From 2015 to 2020 spending growth is expected to average 5.8 percent, peaking at 6.3 percent in 2o2o, reports Health Affairs.
The general rate of U.S. inflation has averaged less than 3 percent in the last few years, brought down by stagnant wages.
What this means, among other things, is increased pressure on providers to curb costs to stem tax and insurance-premium increases. And drug makers, responsible for much of the increase, will come under increased public- and private-sector pressure to reduce their very wide profit margins.
While the GOP-run Congress opposes giving Medicare the power to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies — a power that the Department of Veterans Affairs has — we can see public anger about drug prices swelling enough in the next few years for Medicare to win that authority.