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Are Slower-Growing Health Care Costs Temporary or Permanent?

That’s the question posed by Laurie McGinley on the Washington Post’s WonkBlog yesterday, and the answer has significant policy implications. McGinley highlights two new reports from the Federation of American Hospitals and from PricewaterCoopers that argue the slowdown is structural and will be lasting. An earlier report from from the Kaiser Family Foundation attributed most of the slower growth to the recession, suggesting spending rates will rise again as the economy improves.

Source: McGinley L. Are slower-growing health care costs temporary or permanent? Washington Post WonkBlog, June 18, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/18/are-slower-growing-health-care-costs-temporary-or-permanent/

Related resources:

Dobson A and others of Dobson DaVanzo & Associates. Structural changes drive health care spending slowdown; implications for Medicare policy and deficit reduction. Federation of American Hospitals, June 2013. http://fahpolicy.org/articles/spending-slowdown-power-point/

Health Research Institute. Medical cost trend: behind the numbers 2014. PricewaterhouseCoopers, June 2013. http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/behind-the-numbers/index.jhtml and http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/behind-the-numbers/download.jhtml?WT.mc_id=ba_behind+the+numbers+2014+home+download_download

Assessing the effects of the economy on the recent slowdown in health spending. Snapshots: Health Care Costs, Kaiser Family Foundation, Apr. 2013. http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm042213oth.cfm

Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Insights from monthly national health expenditure estimates through April 2013; spending growth increases slightly; upcoming updates will confirm whether recent moderation is continuing. Health Sector Economic Indicators Spending Brief, Altarum Institute, June 12, 2013. http://www.altarum.org/files/imce/CSHS-Spending-Brief_June%202013.pdf  Monthly updates: http://www.altarum.org/research-initiatives-health-systems-health-care/altarum-center-for-studying-health-spending/health-indicator-reports

National health expenditure projections, 2011-2021. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, June 14, 2012. http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Downloads/Proj2011PDF.pdf

Keehan SP and others of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. National health expenditure projections: modest annual growth until coverage expands and economic growth accelerates. Health Affairs, vol. 31, no. 7, July 2012. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2012/06/11/hlthaff.2012.0404

Levine M and Buntin M. Why has growth in spending for fee-for-service Medicare slowed? U.S. Congressional Budget Office, Aug. 22, 2013. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44513?

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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