Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fast Times at Obamacare High

WSJ on the claims that Obamacare is already reducing health costs:
The worst must be over for the Affordable Care Act because its boosters are taking credit for trends that began long before the law passed. Maybe ObamaCare should also get retroactive political credit for the germ theory of disease.

All the back-slapping is over Monday's report by federal actuaries that U.S. public and private health spending rose only modestly in 2012, growing 3.7% to $2.8 trillion. Because the economy grew somewhat faster, health spending as a share of GDP fell to 17.2% from 17.3% in 2011. The real lesson in these numbers is that faster economic growth solves most fiscal ills.

The slowdown is nonetheless a respite from a 30-year average of about 9% and will be beneficial if it lasts. But ObamaCare architects like former budget director Peter Orszag are doing war whoops, and on Tuesday in these pages White House chief economist Jason Furman attributed the cost decline to "the progress made by the Affordable Care Act."

One problem: The actuaries themselves conclude that the new law had "a minimal impact on overall national health spending growth through 2012." If anything the law increased spending slightly so far, or was a wash.

The spending growth rate started to decelerate steadily in 2003 but plunged during the 2008-2009 recession and has since held steady.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think anyone is going to give a shit about their Obamacare success claims -- false though they may be.

    If anything, they're going to ask "If Obamacare cut costs, why did my insurance go up by X%?" (mine was 17%)