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A new report has predicted that by 2016US health care spending will almost doubleto $4.1 trillion and will account for 20% ofevery dollar spent. The researchers calculatedthat public and private health carespending will increase to ~$12,782 percapita by 2016 from ~$7498 per capita in2006.

The document, released by the NationalHealth Statistics Group at the Centers forMedicare & Medicaid Services, disclosedthat Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicprograms currently account for 40% of Rxdrug spending, compared with 28% in2005. The report also indicated that theincrease in public prescription spendingcould result in future problems becausethe Medicare prescription drug benefitlacks long-term financial stability.

In terms of Medicare and Medicaidspending, the researchers estimated thattotal Medicare spending rose by 22% to$418 billion in 2006 from $342 billion in2005. They said, however, that spendingwould increase by only 6.5% in 2007because of reductions in reimbursementsto physicians and smaller increases in paymentsto Medicare Advantage plans. Theinvestigators also found that, by 2016, 32%of eligible beneficiaries will enroll inMedicare Advantage plans, compared with13.5% in 2005.

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