The Health-Cost Slowdown Isn’t Just About the Economy – NYTimes.com

December 6, 2014

The pattern observed in recent years is not unique and is consistent with historical patterns,” Anne Martin of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said after that agency released new numbers this week. The agency’s report put the argument this way: “The key question is whether health spending growth will accelerate once economic conditions improve significantly; historical evidence suggests that it will.”

I can’t tell you what’s going to happen to health costs in the next several years, but I do think the government’s analysts are putting an overly pessimistic spin on the numbers. When you look at the data in its entirety – not just over the last decade or two but going back to the 1960s — you see that the pattern over the last several years is not normal, even for a time of weak economic growth.

via The Health-Cost Slowdown Isn’t Just About the Economy – NYTimes.com.


National Health Spending In 2013: Growth Slows, Remains In Step With The Overall Economy

December 4, 2014

ABSTRACT In 2013 US health care spending increased 3.6 percent to $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person. The share of gross domestic product devoted to health care spending has remained at 17.4 percent since 2009.

Health care spending decelerated 0.5 percentage point in 2013, compared to 2012, as a result of slower growth in private health insurance and Medicare spending. Slower growth in spending for hospital care, investments in medical structures and equipment, and spending for physician and clinical care also contributed to the low overall increase.

National Health Spending In 2013: Growth Slows, Remains In Step With The Overall Economy.


By 2017, all bets are off on Obamacare’s costs | Other Views | NewsObserver.com

December 4, 2014

The Affordable Care Act’s authors created these two programs for a specific reason: They would ease the transition from the pre- to the post-ACA health care system. In the post-ACA world, health care is more expensive – a fact borne out by 2014’s average 41 percent spike in base premiums. Reinsurance and risk corridors have largely hidden these price increases from consumers for the past year; they will continue to do so until Jan. 1, 2017.

Premiums will likely skyrocket come that date. The Medical Industry Leadership Institute’s study estimates that once the two subsidies expire, premiums for a cheap bronze plan in North Carolina could increase by a staggering 144 percent for individuals and by 55 percent for families.

via By 2017, all bets are off on Obamacare’s costs | Other Views | NewsObserver.com.


More Cost of Health Care Shifts to Consumers – WSJ

December 4, 2014

The federal government said Wednesday that 2013 was the fifth consecutive year in which health spending grew at less than 4%. The 3.6% rate is the lowest since the government began tracking such spending in the 1960s. While economists initially credited the recession for the soft spending growth, the trend continued even as the economy improved.

A study published last year in the journal Health Affairs examined data covering more than 10 million workers at large employers where out-of-pocket costs increased. The study found that the employers’ health spending growth fell over the four years studied, and it attributed about one-fifth of that slowdown to steeper out-of-pocket costs.

via More Cost of Health Care Shifts to Consumers – WSJ.


Underinsurance Remains Big Problem Under Obama Health Law – NYTimes.com

December 1, 2014

But the A.C.A. has not done as much as many had hoped it would to reduce underinsurance. In fact, it may be helping to spread it. And proposed modifications to the law, like those that would introduce a new tier of “copper” plans in addition to bronze, silver, gold and platinum, might make underinsurance worse.

This is important, because research shows that those who are underinsured are more likely to go without needed care.

In the most recent update of the Commonwealth Fund survey, conducted in September and October of this year, investigators found that 13 percent of all adults 19-64 spent more than 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs. Poor adults were the most likely to spend this amount. More than 30 percent of nonelderly adults earning less than the poverty line spent more than 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket costs, and 18 percent of those making between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line did so. All of these people were insured.

via Underinsurance Remains Big Problem Under Obama Health Law – NYTimes.com.


Real Health Spending Continues Moderate Growth | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org

December 1, 2014

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its second estimate of 3rd quarter GDP and it confirms what was observed in the advanced estimate: Real growth in health spending is moderate.

Indeed, real GDP growth was revised upwards from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent, but health spending was not really changed from the advanced estimate. In chained 2009 dollars, GDP grew by $153.7 billion in the 3rd quarter, but health care comprised only 8.6 billion of that growth Table 3. If we go back before Obamacare kicked into high gear, the increase from the 3rd to 4th quarters in 2013 was $18.7 billion — more than twice as much, and both figures are seasonally adjusted.

via Real Health Spending Continues Moderate Growth | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org.


Jonathan Gruber warned of Obamacare premium spike as president promised savings – Washington Times

November 26, 2014

While President Obama campaigned on a promise that his universal health care plan would lower premiums, his controversial adviser and plan architect was privately warning the state of Wisconsin that Obamacare was poised to massively increase insurance costs for average residents, internal documents show.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist currently under fire for suggesting the Obama administration tried to deceive the public about the Affordable Care Act, was hired by former Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 to conduct an analysis on how the federal health-care reform would impact the state.

Mr. Gruber’s study predicted about 90 percent of individuals without employer-sponsored or public insurance would see their premiums spike by an average of 41 percent. Once tax subsidies were factored in, about 60 percent of those in the individual market were projected to see their premiums go up 31 percent, according to his analysis.

via Jonathan Gruber warned of Obamacare premium spike as president promised savings – Washington Times.


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