Obamacare is slowing the rise of health care spending! Well, not so much

While the news cycle continues to explode over big ticket items, the New York Post notices that the administration has been feeding some bits of “good news” out into the media stream. One of these is yet more proof that, all evidence to the contrary, Obamacare is working out just fine, thank you very much. And one indicator of this is that the program is clearly slowing the rise of health care spending in the United States. That’s a win, right? Well, it would be if it were true.

The ObamaCare lies keep coming. In two highly publicized announcements last week, top Obama health officials claimed the Affordable Care Act is slowing health care spending and improving hospital safety.

The media parroted these boasts, but the evidence shows they’re bogus.

Even as administration figures — from President Obama down — distance themselves from Jonathan Gruber, the ObamaCare adviser caught calling the public stupid, they’re still relying on his playbook: They assume we’re not going to check their facts.

On Dec. 3, federal actuaries released data showing that health spending inched up only 3.6 percent in 2013.

As the report notes, health care spending actually began to slow in 2009, and it wasn’t because of any great shift in government programs. It came about because the economy had tanked, people had a lot less money to spend and they began putting off doctor visits and medical procedures or medicines which they simply couldn’t afford. That downward pressure continued for years without comment by the administration until they needed a convenient data point to shore up the public messaging campaign.

If you’d like a tragic example of people putting off tests they couldn’t afford, brace yourself and see what happened to Alvin Wiederspahn. He put off one test at his annual doctor’s visit which might have detected the condition which killed him in his sleep shortly thereafter. It’s an extreme example to be sure, and we will never know if he would be alive today or not if he’d had the testing, but these are the sorts of decisions people had to make in the struggling economy. And those decisions resulted in downward pressure on total spending.

But with the jobs situation slowly starting to improve and consumer confidence edging up a bit, that pattern is about to change. The same professional analysts who called out the remarkable 3.6% increase in costs for 2013 are saying that prices are getting ready to nearly double. If Obamacare is working so well, how is that possible?

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