Can The Affordable Care Act Cut Health Costs? - Health Minute for August 22, 2013

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Can The Affordable Care Act Cut Health Costs? - Health Minute for August 22, 2013

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 3:30pm

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CONTENT: Press Release

It’s no accident that the Affordable Care Act includes the term “affordable” instead of “accessible,” the other major feature of the comprehensive health policy. Better access to preventive health care would seem to follow from affordability. It was the cost of health care that inspired the new policy in the first place. U.S. health care costs total over 17 percent of our GDP, compared to 11 percent for Canada, and 9 percent for the 34 countries of the OECD. But a closer look at the economics of health care reveals a more complex picture. Per capita spending on health care has actually been on the decline since 2002. Some economists have come up with a fancy term, “lagged regression analysis,” to chart how macroeconomics—a low inflation rate and a stagnant GDP growth rate—have resulted in lower spending. This model implies that if either inflation or growth in the GDP pick up, health spending will begin to rise. But there are other factors keeping health spending down: greater cost-sharing by patients, less rapid development of expensive new medical technology, and greater efficiency in the delivery of health care. Other influences include a decline in the number of Americans with employment-based health insurance and an increase in Medicaid enrollment, a decline driven by high unemployment rates which have left many unable to afford either medical insurance or care. These facts look to be with us for the foreseeable future, and to provide a sound basis for putting the “affordable” promised in the Affordable Care Act into action. I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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Keywords: 3bl Media | Affordable Care Act | Health | Health Policy | Healthcare | United States | healthcare costs | policy

CAMPAIGN: The CSR Minute

CONTENT: Press Release

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