Is ObamaCare taking too much credit for the slowdown in health-care spending?

posted at 1:01 pm on August 1, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The rate of growth of Americans’ health-care spending has been trending downward for at least the past decade, and the Obama administration and their many minions would very much like to gently suggest that this trend is largely thanks to ObamaCare’s doing. “As ACA implementation continues, consumer health care cost growth has slowed,” the White House blog noted triumphantly the other day, adroitly implying that the fact that “health care goods and services rose just 1.1 percent over the twelve months ending in May 2013, the slowest rate of increase in nearly 50 years” is somehow evidence that ObamaCare is doing more than just jumping on the bandwagon of an already flattening curve.

Except that the deceleration in health-care spending is really due to a whole slew of factors, and while things like market innovations in data collection and more efficient service delivery have played a role, the biggest reason is probably the most obvious one. Via AEI:

Something happened to make runaway health spending slow down. In 2002, that spending grew 9.7% a year. By 2009, the growth rate fell to 3.9% a year — and did not change for 3 years.

That does not mean health care became cheaper. A lower rate of growth means that costs are still rising, just not as quickly as in the past. Health spending in the US averaged $5,695 per person in 2002 and climbed to $8,680 by 2011. Maybe that’s why no one noticed. …

Despite what the White House wants us to believe, Obamacare had nothing to do with it. Health reform wasn’t even signed into law until 2010, well after health spending growth had dropped.

In the immortal words of James Carville, it’s the economy, stupid. Millions of people lost their jobs during the deep recession that ended in 2009, and many of them still don’t have work. Without a job and the health insurance that comes with it, it’s difficult to pay for health care.

The WSJ has a recent piece attesting to the same, and I might add that I find this to be a singularly unwise and desperate move by the White House. If the Obama administration is going to try and take credit for the slowdown in the rate of health-care spending, what’s to stop anyone from also attributing it to them if and when it picks back up again? And especially given the powerful incentives ObamaCare creates for people to make use of more medical services than they might otherwise via their “free” insurance, I’d wager it’s more a question of “when” than “if.”


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My premiums have doubled since the cACA HellCare bill was passed unread.

jukin3 on August 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I would also think that the private insurance industry has gotten better over the years at controlling costs. They certainly have done so with prescription drugs, by using “multi-tiered pricing” to try and get patients to try out cheaper generic drugs to treat a condition first, rather than go immediately to the most expensive, whiz-bang drug on the planet right out of the gate.

Outlander on August 1, 2013 at 1:10 PM

It’s all on topic any more.

Yesterday the Platinum-sprayed Horseturd of the Land went to meet with the other thuggish fools, the Ds in Congress. The first item on their agenda was to tell him to ask Nurse Ratched, aka Sibelius, to put in effect a rule which exempts the Congress and their staff from obama’care’.

It’s as if you ask the owners to install special keys/locks for the robbers and make them pay for them.

The ones who’re supposed to serve us get 75% of their healthcare paid by the taxpayers. They threatened to leave the Congress, if he’s not addressing. Sen. Grassly made sure that the senate/House and oaf and staff are not exempted from the disaster they impose on the ones who sustain them, with their hard labor.

Expect the Oaf in Chief and thug extraordinaire, shameless hacks and all, to release the change on a Friday, under cover, while on vacation, bef. Oct. 1, 2013, when the law goes into effect.

Who cares if they’d leave. May you all die a slow and painful death, you harlots of the world and mafiosos, like no other. You deserve total destruction.

May they all go directly to Hell, and burn, slowly, in the coldest layer, until we see drippings.

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Work harder, fools.

The platinum-sprayed horseturd is always a deceiver, but he still stinks.

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

If the Obama administration is going to try and take credit for the slowdown in the rate of health-care spending, what’s to stop anyone from also attributing it to them if and when it picks back up again?

Erika, have you learned NOTHING from this administration? If premiums rise and people lose the plans they like, that isn’t ObamaCare’s fault. Instead, it’s because the Republicans resisted ObamaCare’s implementation and screwed things up. Ooh, those meddling Republicans!

Outlander on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

What if spending did slow down because of Obamacare, because medical service is worse, is horrible, and we are sicker? Is that the goal of life? To cut medical spending, but be sick? To cut, but have death panels? I think we show some guts and defund this monster.

anotherJoe on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

well, now here’s a thread where libslaveordie can show how awesome the economy is.

unemployment is never something that concerns a liberal/progressive. Just more people that can be given free stuff so they will vote for democRats.

kirkill on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

The rate of growth of Americans’ health-care spending has been trending downward for at least the past decade, and the Obama administration and their many minions would very much like to gently suggest that this trend is largely thanks to ObamaCare’s doing.

It’s been trending downward because their standard of living is trending downward. That will only get worse once Obamacare takes off.

rickv404 on August 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Defund the sucker.

http://news.yahoo.com/split-gop-2016-cant-come-fast-enough-132600205.html

The irony of the Republican Party’s success in blocking the Democratic Senate and Democratic president is that the party itself is being blocked in the same way: **a committed, uncompromising minority stands in its way. But it’s not always the same minority. The Republican Party is in an increasingly obvious struggle over its identity — one with its roots in the voters that comprise it.

Hey you **Hobbits / Wacko Birds / Loud People. Can’t you see how great ObamaCare and Amnesty would be?

PappyD61 on August 1, 2013 at 1:18 PM

It’s been trending downward because their standard of living is trending downward. That will only get worse once Obamacare takes off.

rickv404 on August 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

10% lower income by family and by capita nationwide in five years. What do you think are some of the first things that have to be cut out of the budget?

oldroy on August 1, 2013 at 1:20 PM

The platinum-sprayed horseturd is always a deceiver, but he still stinks.

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

I don’t wish to be contrary but, platinum is running around $1400.0a an once and horse turds are fairly large. A platinum-sprayed horse turd could be worth quit a lot and that isn’t even counting the cost of platinum paint or the labor involved. Maybe on the order of 3 or 4 grand. BO on the other hand is a worthless piece of, well, you know I’m not sure there is anything on this planet that is worth less than BO.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

but he still stinks.
Schadenfreude on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

BO generally does.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Just more people that can be given free stuff so they will vote for democRats.

kirkill on August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

They don’t get free stuff. They sell their vote for that stuff. They also never asked to be born and thus deserve something for existing. If we are not willing to pay them for the inconvenience of being alive then we should never had let them be born.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I am scheduling every medical test this year, that I could possibly need for the next 10 years. So my healthcare spending, apart from insurance premiums, are way up.

esr1951 on August 1, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Libfreeordie are you lurking? Your vast knowledge, experience and wisdom would be helpful on this thread. Tell us why healthcare spending increases have slowed…

oldroy on August 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM

If the Obama administration is going to try and take credit for the slowdown in the rate of health-care spending, what’s to stop anyone from also attributing it to them if and when it picks back up again?

Because, dear Erika, EVERYONE knows it will be George Bush’s fault!

GarandFan on August 1, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Talk about a thug

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2013 at 1:50 PM

You know what industry’s sticker price rises each year without a care in the world from Obama and liberals? Big Education! Think of all the health insurance someone could buy rather than pay for 4 years of useless information in essentially re-education camps of the left. Big Ed churns out the progressives of tomorrow, so no one in this administration utters a word against rising prices. No, instead of admonishing Big Ed on sitting on “greedy” endowments and instead allow tuition prices to rise faster than the CPI, the progressives instead extract extra money from the taxpayer to give to students to defray the exorbitant costs of education. What a joke

stop2think on August 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM

If total healthcare spending is down, that is because people on unemployment or are scared of losing their current income (or are underemployed) cannot afford to go to the Dr., even if just faced with co-pays.

Spartacus on August 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Is ObamaCare taking too much credit for the slowdown in health-care spending?

Nah. Credit goes to Obamanomics, not Obamacare.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 2, 2013 at 12:47 AM