Happy Obamacare Deadline-ish Day. CNN’s Jim Acosta logs on to Healthcare.gov this morning and finds:
Perfect. Old traditions die hard, huh? At least, a lot harder than Healthcare.gov.
Health Care’s Cost Curve Is Turning Into a Squiggly Line, Mostly Upward
May 2013: Health care’s “cost curve” is bending down! Credit Obamacare!
“National health spending grew by 3.9 percent each year from 2009 to 2011, the lowest rate of growth since the federal government began keeping such statistics in 1960,” reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. Early data suggest that the numbers held into 2012. So the curve hasn’t just bent; it has bent more than ever.
September 2013: Health care’s “cost curve” is bending back up again! Blame Obamacare!
Last week, the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rather different prediction: that “the [Affordable Care Act] is projected to . . . increase cumulative spending by roughly $621 billion” from 2014 to 2022. To be clear, that’s spending on top of the normal health-care inflation that would have happened if Obamacare had not been passed. So much for “bending down the cost curve,” as the president often liked to say his law would do.
November 2013: No, no, health care’s “cost curve” is bending down again! Credit Obamacare!
The White House issued a 29-page report that says, among other things, the once out-of-control health spending trends in the U.S. have been tamed to the point where medical inflation is just over 1%.
Health spending growth is the lowest on record, the report contends, up an average annual rate of 1.3% over the past three years. That’s less than one-third the historical average dating back to 1965.
Today: Health care’s “cost curve” is bending back up again! Blame Obamacare!
Health care spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter, a development that could foreshadow higher costs for consumers this year.
Expenses for health care rose at a 5.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said last week. The jump triggered a sharp upward revision in the government’s estimate of consumer spending overall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the economy’s 2.6% annualized growth in the last three months of 2013.
Driving the increase was an $8 billion rise in hospital revenue — more than the previous four quarters combined, according to the Census Bureau and Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS economist Omair Sharif says the increase in hospitals’ income was puzzling because the number of inpatient days dipped 1% during the fourth quarter.
Fewer patients, staying in the hospital less time, and paying more.
In the meantime, thank you, Obamacare.
U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.
Gee, do you think it has anything to do with the fact that Obamacare is cutting Medicare?
Finally, way to go, Maryland:
On Tuesday, Maryland will begin the process of replacing its troubled exchange, which has had so many problems since its launch on Oct. 1 that officials have decided it would be better to start anew. Maryland had more than two years to create its first exchange, which has cost $125.5 million to build and operate, according to the exchange’s spokeswoman.