Subscribe Register Login

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 10:35 a.m.
Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal

U.S. marks 4 straight years of slowing health costs

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 6, 2014 at 4:11 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Even as his health care law divided the nation, President Barack Obama's first term produced historically low growth in health costs, government experts said in a new report Monday.

While the White House sees hard-won vindication, it's too early to say if the four-year trend that continued through 2012 is a lasting turnaround that Obama can claim as part of his legacy.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. economy grew faster in 2012 than did national health care spending, according to nonpartisan economic experts at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

That's an important statistic. In most years, health care spending grows more rapidly than the economy, like bills that rise faster than your paycheck. That cost pressure steadily undermines employer insurance as well as government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. But the pattern slowed starting in 2009, and then appears to have reversed ever so slightly and tenuously.

"Have we turned the corner in a sustainable way? That's still an open question," said economist Robert Reischauer, who serves as a public trustee overseeing Medicare and Social Security financing. "But I am more optimistic than I have ever been that fundamental changes are under way." For example, even though baby boomers are joining Medicare in record numbers, that program's costs are basically stable when measured on a per-patient basis, Reischauer noted.

Nonetheless, America still spends a whole lot. Monday's report found that the nation's health care tab reached $2.8 trillion in 2012, the latest year available. Health care accounted for 17.2 percent of the economy, down from 17.3 percent in 2011.

Comments on: U.S. marks 4 straight years of slowing health costs

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

Subscribe Register Login

You must login to make comments.

TOP JOBS

  • Lpns prn

    - -RN Every other Weekend Supervisor Apply in person at Nurs...
    Little Rock, AR

  • Customer service representative

    Full-Time: Takes incoming calls from customers. Must be abl...
    Little Rock, AR

  • Lpns

    Weekend option & M-FApply in person. Premier Health & Rehab...
    NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR

  • Residential advisor

    the arkansas school for the deaf is seeking applicants for:C...
    LITTLE ROCK, AR

  • Education

    pulaski technical college in North Little Rock, Arkansas, th...
    LITTLE ROCK, AR

Search 842 jobs >

Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal
Arkansas Online