Competition and the Cost of Medicare's Prescription Drug Program

Spending for Medicare's prescription drug program (Part D) was $50 billion in 2013—about 50 percent less than CBO projected when the program was created. Lower growth rates in national drug spending and lower-than-expected enrollment primarily account for the difference.

The competitive design of Part D has also constrained spending. CBO found that spending was lower in years when, and in areas of the country where, more plan sponsors competed for beneficiaries.

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The Economic Effects of the President’s 2015 Budget

The President’s proposed policies would increase U.S. output (compared with what it would be under current law), mostly by changing immigration laws. Incorporating such economic effects, CBO estimates that those policies would reduce deficits relative to those under current law by a total of $1 trillion over the next decade.

The deficit projections in CBO’s April 2014 report on the budgetary effects of the President’s budget already accounted for the largest economic effects of the President’s proposals; this analysis does not significantly alter those projections.

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Debt Held by the Public, Total Spending, and Total Revenues

The 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook

If current laws remained generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2039 and would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.

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The Renewable Fuel Standard: Issues for 2014 and Beyond

Using the rising amounts of different types of renewable transportation fuels required under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will pose significant challenges.

Two options—repealing the RFS or keeping requirements at their current levels—would have similar effects on prices for fuel and food and on greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. But requiring increasing amounts of those fuels, particularly so-called advanced biofuels, would raise fuel prices while slightly reducing emissions.

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The Highway Trust Fund and the Treatment of Surface Transportation Programs in the Federal Budget

Spending from the Highway Trust Fund exceeds its revenues. What options do lawmakers have to address the fund's imbalance? How does the unique classification of surface transportation programs in the federal budget limit the effectiveness of standard spending controls?

Check out this report for answers to those questions. Also see Anatomy of a Cost Estimate for Legislation Funding Transportation Programs—a step-by-step guide showing how CBO describes transportation funding in its cost estimates.