Is Obamacare Contributing to Decrease in Healthcare Spending?

Using data from a new report released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the White House gives partial credit to Obamacare for the recent slowdown in healthcare spending.

According to the report, healthcare spending in 2012 rose by a historically low 3.7%, and spending as a percentage of the economy, decreased from 17.3% in 2011 to 17.2% in 2012.

The White House: “For years, healthcare costs in America skyrocketed, with brutal consequences for our country … The Affordable Care Act, for the first time in decades, has helped to stop that trend.”

Economist, David Cutler, weighs in: “There are two explanations. One is the recession was a big and drunken episode that has a very long hangover. The alternative view is that something big has actually changed.”

Jonathan Cohn questions the White House assertion: “Pretty much everybody agrees that the primary factor for lower health care spending is the lingering effects of the economic slowdown … What do I think? Honestly, I’m not sure. If you cover health care and talk to people in the industry, it’s obvious that the law’s incentives are having a major effect.”

The White House: “While there is a debate about how much the Affordable Care Act has contributed to this health cost slow-down, there is no doubt that it reduced Medicare spending growth.”

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