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ACA Fail Fractal
Another ACA Argument Bites the Dust

The so-called “health care slowdown” has long been one of the key talking points for Obamacare supporters. From 2007 to 2013, health spending grew much more slowly—an average of just 4 percent—than it had since the government first started measuring it in the 1960s. Many on the left attributed this slow growth to the Affordable Care Act, even though the recession may have also played an important role in depressing spending. A key question was whether the slowdown was temporary or tied to more permanent changes the ACA made to U.S. health care.

We may now have an answer, and it doesn’t look great for the ACA apologists. U.S. healthcare spending surged in 2014, as CNN reports:

Thanks in large part to the expansion of coverage under Obamacare, health care spending in the U.S. is projected to have hit $3.1 trillion, or $9,695 per person, last year. That’s an increase of 5.5%, according to federal estimates released Tuesday. It’s the first time the rate would exceed 5% since 2007…

This year, spending growth is expected to slow slightly to 5.3% as these trends moderate. But it will pick up again to an average of 5.8% a year between 2014 and 2024 due, in part, to the improving economy and the aging of the population, with approximately 19.1 million people expected to enroll in Medicare over the next 11 years.

The 2014 spending acceleration won’t solve the great slowdown debate entirely one way or another, but it should give pause to anyone claiming that the slowdown proves that the ACA has been a grand success. In the meantime, for average Americans, health care is still too expensive—and appears poised to become more so. Insurers across the country are applying for, and winning, large rate increases. U.S. health care must become better and cheaper, and increasingly it appears that the ACA was largely a distraction from the kinds of reforms we desperately need.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    “The kinds of reforms we desperately need”.

    Perhaps we would do well (seriously) to descend to utter pragmatism and have a frank discussion about whether the lives of most ordinary people are WORTH expensive life-saving procedures and drugs and whether they are WORTH prolonging. I know that would strike most people as a morally-questionable discussion. But a pure “free-market” approach is precisely that result. If you don’t have the money to spend on high-end medical care, you wouldn’t get it in unmodified capitalism. We should start from that point of sheer honesty and ask ourselves whether we are all okay with that—-or, if not, what else we might prefer.

    If we believe that health care is owed by all of society to those who need it, then we should be leveling out the prices and availability of health care like the services rendered from public utilities. If we believe something “in between”, we ought to define what that is. The implication that we need to get back to more of a free market without admitting the “philosophy of life worth” that entails is not an honest approach. It rather glosses over the real problem.

    • Dale Fayda

      I volunteer you to be put down as “unworthy” of living. You’re past retirement age, aren’t you?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, I am. And you seriously are calling into question my value to remain here.

        The thing is, Dale, the “reforms we desperately need” as described by conservatives are always based on more free market ideas. That, at its core, defines a life’s value at what you can pay to keep it. I think we really do need to discuss that in the open before we just repeat “free market, free market”.

        • MartyH

          It’s the government VA system that put a DNR wristband on a patient here in Sacramento that resulted in his death.

          It’s the single payer health care system in Britain that is literally starving patients to death-almost 1200, with four times as many having dehydration listed as a contributory cause.

          The best study of Medicaid that we have indicate that its effects are psychic, not physical.

          It’s the progressives, not conservatives, whose actions shorten people’s lives and who see humans as fiscal assets and liabilities to be managed from cradle to grave (with no more than seventy five years between the two events, per Obama’s advisor Zeke Emmanuel.) Conservatives would like to see health insurance be that-insurance, not a gold plated pre-paid health care plan.

          • Dale Fayda

            Well put.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Details, Marty. That’s what I was asking for in the original post. Details BEFORE boilerplate.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Precisely right. The difference between the free market and the state is that the free market lets anyone who can pay for it provide for their own medical coverage (or not, as they choose), while the state uses force to take resources from those of us who can pay to provide for those that cannot. I don’t expect our resident idiot to see the difference, but since he is big on rationing, let him volunteer to free up resources for the rest of us.

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