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Health Care: How much does the federal government spend?

The administration estimates that the federal government will spend over $600 billion on health care in fiscal 2008 (see table). Of that, Medicare will claim roughly $390 billion, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) about $210 billion, and veterans’ medical care about $34 billion. In addition to these direct outlays, various tax provisions for health create tax expenditures that total roughly $175 billion; about 85 percent of that figure comes from the exclusion from taxable income of employers’ payments for their workers’ health insurance premiums.

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