Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't Look Now, but the Affordable Care Act is Working for America

Teabagger Logic FAIL
Despite the teabagger cries of "death panels" and other predictions of the end of America, the Affordable Care Act appears to be working as advertised.  While not as dramatic a change as a real single-payer system could have been, it is nonetheless flattening out the cost growth curve of healthcare in America.
And now for some good news: Medicare spending growth has been slowing noticeably. So far this fiscal year, expenditures have actually declined slightly, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Part of the decline this year reflects timing shifts in certain Medicare payments, which will soon be reversed. Even adjusting for these shifts, though, Medicare spending is still up less than 4 percent so far this year.

The 2011 numbers come on the heels of relatively slow growth in 2010 as well. Last year, Medicare spending rose just a little more than 4 percent.

Compare this with an almost 12 percent average annual growth rate in Medicare spending since the early 1970s. During those four decades, there were only four years in which costs rose by less than 5 percent -- and three of those four years were in the late 1990s, when payments were cut back as part of the 1997 budget deal.

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