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Forecasts of Future Spending



Several government agencies publish regular forecasts of future government spending, including the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare and Social Security Trustees.

CBO: Long-term Outlook for Federal Spending

Health care costs will increase from 6 percent to 13 percent of GDP

Chart 2.91: CBO Estimate - Federal Spending

The Congressional Budget Office Long-term Budget Outlook released in September 2013 projects the trends in the major federal spending programs, based on current program rules, and projects the likely spending out to 2088.

The outlook is fairly clear. Social Security will expand from a spending level of 5 percent of GDP today to about 6 percent by 2050.

But Medicare and Medicaid, the two big federal health care programs, will expand from 5 percent at present to almost 10 percent of GDP by 2050.

The CBO assumes that other programs, except interest on the national debt, will decrease due to the pressure of health care spending from the current 11.6 percent of GDP to 6.8 percent of GDP by 2050. Interest expense will increase from 1.3 percent of GDP to over 6 percent of GDP by 2050.

Medicare Trustees Report

Medicare will cost about 6 percent of GDP by the middle of the 21st century.

Chart 2.92: Medicare Trustees Report

Every year the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services publishes a Medicare Trustees Report. The latest report was published on May 31, 2013.

The latest report shows that Medicare cost in 2012 about 1.7 percent of GDP for the Part A Hospital Insurance, 1.58 percent of GDP for the Part B Supplementary Medical Insurance and 0.45 percent of GDP for the Part D drug benefit.

The cost of Medicare is expected increase rapidly in the short term, to breach 4 percent of GDP by 2020 and cost over 5 percent of GDP by 2028. Medicare is expected to cost over 6 percent of GDP by 2040.

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Spending Data Sources

Spending data is from official government sources.
  Federal data since 1962 comes from the president’s budget.
  All other spending data comes from the US Census Bureau.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and measuringworth.com.

Detailed table of spending data sources here.

Federal spending data begins in 1792.

State and local spending data begins in 1890.

State and local spending data for individual states begins in 1957.

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Next Data Update

> State and Local Finances FY12

> data update schedule.

Data Source

Source: CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook .

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

CBO Long-term Outlook 2014

On July 15, 2014, the Congressional Budget Office released its annual Long Term Budget Outlook, which projects federal spending and revenue out into the 2080s.  As before, the CBO study shows that federal health-care programs will eat the budget.

UsGovernmentspending.com has updated its chart of the CBO Long Term Budget Outlook here.  You can download the data and also view CBO Long Term Budget Outlooks going back to 1999.

Spend links

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