Has Obamacare Slowed Health Care Costs?
Marguerite Bowling /
In need of something positive to say about Obamacare, the Obama administration is trying to convince people that Obamacare has lowered health care costs. While it’s true that per capita spending on health care has slowed, it remains unclear how much of that can be attributed to Obamacare’s overhaul of the private health sector.
Yesterday, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors released a report suggesting that Obamacare had influenced the slowdown in spending while improving quality of care. The report noted that health care spending per capita has grown an estimated annual rate of 1.3 percent since 2010.
But, as Heritage Foundation health economist Drew Gonshorowski points out, the report cites other factors that have affected health care spending:
- It features several sources that credit the recession as 50 percent to 77 percent of the reason U.S. health spending has slowed in growth.
- It notes an increase in cost sharing—or deductibles increasing noticeably in job-based health plans.
- It highlights that many brand-name prescription drugs are coming off their patents, meaning people are able to purchase less expensive generic drugs.
Additionally, the government’s cut of overpayments to Medicare by $17 billion in fiscal year 2013 make up a yearly .2 percent decrease in national health spending from 2010 to 2013. “Growth has slowed, but it’s unclear if this will continue to be the trend in 2014, when spending provisions for Obamacare really come into play,” Gonshorowski says.
One thing more and more Americans are learning is that Obamacare has been the main cause for cancellations of their individual insurance plans. And many Americans face higher premium and deductible costs for Obamacare-approved plans that would replace their canceled ones. With Obamacare causing so many disturbances in the health insurance marketplace alone, it’s hard to imagine how it could benefit the economy down the road.