On Wednesday, the new head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a bombshell report finding that U.S. health care spending since 2010 has increased by just 1.3 percent — the smallest cost growth over a three-year period in American history — while prices in the health care sector rose by 50-year lows, thanks in part to structural changes made by the Affordable Care Act.
This is a big deal. Website problems are an embarrassment that will last a month and a half. But bending the cost curve is absolutely critical for the future of medicine in the country.
This is more a “Thanks, in part, Obamacare” than an unambiguous “Thanks Obamacare.” There are a lot of different pressures contributing to this result—and some may not be permanent. However, people were pretty pessimistic about the Affordable Care Act’s probability of lowering costs. It looks like it’s happening.
The other goal—expanding coverage—is also happening. The website problems have complicated that. (Although … they’ve also brought a lot of publicity—so I’m not totally persuaded that fewer people will sing up than otherwise would have.)