Sarah Kliff argues that the typical story of American health care — “a lousy deal where we get less and spend more” — may be changing.
There are two trends pointing to a new era of “get more, pay less.”
“The first is lots more people getting coverage. This is mostly Obamacare: the health care law is expected to expand insurance coverage to 26 million people by 2024.”
“The second big trend is in what we spend … Over the next decade, forecasters think our health spending will grow at a slower rate, even as millions and millions of Americans gain access to health insurance. After two decades of spending more and getting less, we’re entering an era of spending less and getting more.”
“We have had periods of relatively slow health care growth before. In the mid-1990s, for example, there was a stretch of time when health spending grew at the same rate as the rest of the economy.”
Most health economists attribute that to the rise of HMOs, which were unpopular, and ultimately declined.
“But some health economists say that this time feels different. For one, the changes are happening in private insurance and Medicare, suggesting there’s no single — and thus easily reversible — force driving the change.”