The Corner

Re: Health Costs and the Budget

Yuval has a fine post below detailing the flaws with the latest progressive narrative about fiscal policy: that growth in government health-care spending is slowing down, and, therefore, that entitlement reform is no longer necessary. The more aggressive advocates of this narrative, such as HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, double down by arguing that Obamacare is responsible for the slowdown.

Here is a chart I put together for a recent talk at Yale Medical School, in which I compared growth in U.S. health spending, growth in Medicare spending, growth in Medicare per-enrollee spending (because the retirement of the Baby Boomers is leading to a rise in enrollment), and growth in spending across the industrialized OECD countries.

What you’ll notice in the chart is that growth in spending across the industrialized world has come down significantly in the last several years, as represented by the black line. Indeed, in 2010 and 2011, growth in U.S. spending — whether you look at overall spending or just Medicare — is higher than the OECD average.

The bottom line: The most likely explanation of recent trends in health spending is that they are a reflection of economic conditions in the developed world. Other factors may play a role, but we certainly can’t be sure.

— Avik Roy is a columnist at NRO. You can follow him on Twitter at @avik.

Avik Roy — Avik Roy is the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More