NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is Obamacare Really Causing a Health Spending Slowdown?

November 10, 2014

Last week, President Obama bragged that health care inflation has fallen each year since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, calling it the lowest increase in health care costs over five decades.

But has the Affordable Care Act actually reduced the growth of health care costs? Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post says the president is drawing some less-than-clear conclusions from the health care spending numbers. He explains:

  • The White House has pointed to a recent CMS report that shows a slowdown in health spending growth in 2013, with a 3.6 percent growth rate. However, when that report explained the slow growth in spending, it attributed it to the poor economic recovery, sequestration and slow growth in Medicare service use -- it did not mention Obamacare.
  • Moreover, spending in 2013 was actually higher than in 2012, so it has not actually fallen every year since 2010.
  • That same CBO report also said that spending growth would jump 5.6 percent in 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act.

Kessler writes that health care spending is growing at its lowest level in the last 50 years, but that linking the slowdown in spending growth to the Affordable Care Act is misleading, as there is no evidence that Obamacare is responsible for the slowdown. Indeed, the NCPA recently issued a report on this very issue, showing that health care spending is only going to rise under the Affordable Care Act.

Source: Glenn Kessler, "Obama's claim that Obamacare has reduced health-care inflation 'every single year' since it was passed," Washington Post, November 6, 2014.

 

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