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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rick Holmes
Nov. 24, 2013 12:01 a.m.



ACAwinnersLosers

The endless national debate over health policy is long on politics and short on facts.  There are lots of interesting things happening right now in health care, things more important even than Barack Obama’s poll numbers.

Like, for instance, the success we’ve seen in controlling health costs. According to a report last week from the Council of Economic Advisers,



Health care spending growth is the lowest on record. According to the most recent projections, real per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average annual rate of just 1.3 percent over the three years since 2010. This is the lowest rate o record for any three – year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965.


There are many reasons health spending is down, and plenty of credit to go around.  The recession and slow economy are part of the story. Higher co-pays and deductibles, which make consumers partners in health care decisions, has made a difference. The CEA gives the Affordable Care Act part of the credit, pointing especially to Medicare payment reforms:



In large part because of the ACA’s role in slowing the growth of health care spending, CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce deficits by about $100 billion over the coming decade and by an average of 0.5 percent of GDP ($83 billion per year in today’s eco nomy) over the following decade. These deficit savings are likely to grow over time and are separate from the revisions in CBO’s Medicare and Medicaid spending projections that were discussed on the last page (which are not directly attributable to the ACA).


Bill Weld used to say (probably quoting someone else) that you’d be amazed at how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. The U.S. still pays twice as much per capita on health care as similar countries. Wouldn’t it be great if people in Washington decided not to treat this report as a political football and concentrated on making continued progress?

As for perspective, I offer the chart above.

 

 

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