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Salvaging Your Holidays from the Obama Administration July 2, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.

Ace was pointing out that the ever-intrusive White House wants to add to the holiday revelry by arming Liberal Believers with Obamacare facts:

Situation: Uncle Ted claims Obamacare is a train wreck and has cost jobs.

You say: …Since the main components of the law went into effect, we’ve reduced the number of uninsured by 16.4 million, the largest increase in the insured in decades. … Today, we’ve seen the slowest growth in health costs in half a century, improved patient safety has saved an estimated 50,000 lives and $12 billion, and employer premiums for family coverage grew just 3 percent in 2014, tied with 2010 for the lowest on record back to 1999.

Meanwhile, since the ACA was signed, the private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. The increase in employment over that period is due almost entirely to higher full-time employment. The number of people working part-time who would prefer to be full-time has fallen by 2.6 million from March 2010 through May 2015, including a decline of 1.1 million since December 2013.

[I’ve cut some of the blither out of the response to try to preserve reader attention]

So lets look at the point concerning cost growth.

We’ve seen the slowest growth in health costs in half a century.” That’s strictly true (though meaningless) unless you adjust for inflation, in which the lowest growth happened just before Obamacare was enacted:

RealNHEGrowthThe lowest points were in 2009 – 2011, which spans the period just before to just after Obamacare was passed (March 2011). Also if you look at the downward trend for the years preceding 2009, it turns out that we were reducing cost growth just fine before the recession [the real cost numbers on the CMS spreadsheet don’t go back before 2004]. And the cost growth picks up just as Obamacare gets rolling.

Finally, it’s generally accepted that the drop in cost growth was due mainly to the recession:

For the past several months, analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Altarum Institute have been analyzing the recent slowdown in health spending. On average, health spending grew by 4.2 percent per year from 2008 to 2012, down from the recent peak of 8.8 percent from 2001 to 2003 and the lowest rate of growth in five decades. Our main conclusion is that most of this slowdown, 77 percent, has been due to years of a weak economy, which causes people to put off health services when they can and prompts employers and states to reduce health spending. The other 23 percent is explained by changes in the health system, including increased consumer cost-sharing, tighter managed care and modifications in payment and delivery…

So if the Obama administration wants to take credit for the recession that caused the drop in health care spending, that’s fine, but something tells me they still want to blame that on Bush.


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