Health care expenditures Healthcare expenditures by federal, state, and local governments willaccount for 47 percent of all health care expenditures by 2027–butthat's just a 2 percent increase from today. (Image:Shutterstock)

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For those worried—or excited—about the idea of socialized medicine taking over the U.S healthcare system, new government data suggests that we're halfway therealready.

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According to a new set of projections from the Centers forMedicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), health care expenditures byfederal, state, and local governments will account for 47 percentof all health care expenditures by 2027. If that sounds like a lot,consider that government spending already accounts for 45percent of the bill.

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The numbers, published in the journal Health Affairs, suggest that the rate of costincreases will be slightly higher than in recent years, but lowerthan in the pre-Affordable Health Care Act period of 1990 to 2007,when costs increased at 7.3 percent annually. For the next tenyears, CMS expects an annual average increase of 5.5 percent inhealth care spending.

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Related: Health care spending hits record high despite flatrates of utilization

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Demographic changes are a large part of the reason for theuptick in spending by government programs. According to an analysispublished in Modern Healthcare, “Medicare spending isexpected to grow faster than Medicaid or private insurance spendingdue to the aging of the large Baby Boom population into theprogram, peaking this year. That will produce a 7.4 percent averageannual Medicare spending growth rate over the next decade, comparedwith 5.5 percent for Medicaid, and 4.8 percent for privateinsurance.”

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Other projections from the CMS report found that health care'sshare of the national GDP will stand at 19.4 percent by 2027, andwill total nearly $6 trillion. It currently is at 17.9 percent, andis estimated at $3.5 trillion. Hospital spending growth willaverage 5.6 percent annually during that time frame, and clinicalspending will grow at 5.4 percent on average. In both areas, laborshortages will be a factor in driving up costs, according toCMS.

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The Washington Post weighed in by saying regardlessof the outcome of Medicare for All plans being pushed bysome politicians, the government is set to take on anever-increasing share of the nation's health care spending, atleast for the near future.

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“The number of people covered through Medicare — and spending onthe federal insurance program for older and disabled Americans — isexpected to grow more rapidly than private insurance or Medicaid,eating up a larger chunk of health spending,” the Post said.

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That article also suggested that both advocates and opponents ofMedicare-for-all would find some ammunition in the new projections.But the news that the government already is footing nearly half thebill for health care costs may blunt some of the dire predictionsabout the nation slipping into socialism.

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As the Post noted, “Larry Levitt, executive vice president ofthe Kaiser Family Foundation, said that 'if the government isalready going to play a very big role in the health system, that,over time, may make proposals like Medicare for All lesscontroversial.'”

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