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Chairman-designate Lee asks CBO and CMS to account for social capital in healthcare cost projections

WASHINGTON – Today, Joint Economic Committee Chairman-designate Mike Lee (R-UT) sent letters to the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking for clarification on whether the offices take social capital into account while formulating their healthcare cost projections for federal and state governments. The letters also ask that if they do not take social capital into account that they begin doing so in light of a recent JEC report about declining social support amongst the elderly.

The letters read, in part:

“Among other consequences, declining social connections among aging adults likely means Americans will have fewer potential informal caregivers in the future. …Based on our conversation with [your agency] staff, it is our understanding that the modeling of Medicare and Medicaid cost projections does not explicitly take into account the declines in social support older Americans will experience. This means that projections may well underestimate Medicare and Medicaid long-term care spending.”

This discrepancy of accounting could not only lead to unaccounted costs for American families and taxpayers, it could also lead to a lower quality of life for our elderly citizens as they reach retirement age.

The report, titled “An Invisible Tsunami: ‘Aging Alone’ and its Effect on Older Americans, Families, and Taxpayers”, was covered by the Washington Post and draws attention to the growing decline in social support for our elderly population.

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