Obamacare Slows Healthcare Cost Growth to 1960 leve

Obamacare Slows Healthcare Cost Growth to 1960 level:  Obamacare and federal spending cuts slowed the growth in healthcare spending to 3.6% last year—the lowest yearly increase since 1960. Private healthcare premiums increased just 2.8% in 2013, compared to 4.0% in 2012.  “It’s a continuation of very good news that health care costs are slowing,” said Loren Adler, research director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The Affordable Care Act is reducing payments to Medicare Advantage, a private alternative to traditional Medicare, which slowed down Medicare spending growth last year. Automatic federal budget cuts under sequestration slowed growth with a mandatory 2% cut to Medicare providers. A.C.A. “Obamacare” slowed premium growth by requiring insurers to spend a new minimum amount on medical care—as opposed to administrative costs and profits. Conscientious consumers are increasingly choosing reasonable but higher-deductible plans, putting downward pressure on premiums. Medicaid spending did grow in 2013 because some states decided to embrace the health care law’s Medicaid expansion early and growth will continue as more states adopt expansion this year. In the final analysis, with health care being aided by tax dollars to purchase private insurance instead of relying on free hospital emergency care, there is suddenly a huge incentive industry-wide, nation-wide to control cost growth. Traditionally, private industry offered no incentive to control costs that restricted profits. Following private industry guidelines, medical personnel have always been incentivised to increase services and ignore costs covered by insurance and passed on to the insured. As a side benefit, hospital-acquired errors and infections are down 17% with 50,000 fewer deaths and savings of $12 billion. After six years of never-ending conservative obstructionism, both industry and the public are wising up to the fact that reform is good both for the economy and for the health of all Americans.

Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.

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