Magazine October 6, 2014, Issue

Obamacare and the Cost Curve

What’s really slowing health-care inflation is a Bush-era reform

Though Obamacare remains unpopular, an influential slice of the liberal commentariat insists that it is succeeding not just in expanding coverage, but in “bending the cost curve,” i.e., lowering the rate of health-care-cost inflation. But how much credit does Obamacare really deserve? And could there be another explanation for the slowdown in cost growth that is rather less convenient for Obamacare’s champions? If you guessed “Not very much” and “Yes,” you’re right on the money.

Policymakers have long seen bending the cost curve as critically important. Health-care inflation has been exceeding the rate of economic growth and overall inflation for decades.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Hagan Hiding

Raleigh, N.C. — In North Carolina’s closely watched U.S. Senate race between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis, the former is the incumbent. But she doesn’t sound like it. ...

Features

Special Energy Section

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Disappearing Act

First, a critic’s confession: Since becoming a father, I can no longer quite trust my emotional reactions at the movies. Parenthood stretches the carapace around your feelings thin, makes the ...
Politics & Policy

Morality and Power

In 1976 Ronald Reagan confronted President Gerald Ford with one of the most grueling primary challenges any incumbent president has ever faced. The fight went to the floor of the ...
Politics & Policy

A Green Scam

In this corner, we have a human-rights lawyer representing the interests of indigenous people in the Amazon residing in a remote corner of Ecuador polluted by the by-products of oil ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

A Half-Hearted Fight

The president announced a campaign to destroy the Islamic State. This is welcome after the willful indifference the president has exhibited to the rise of the Islamic State and the fate ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE SAGE I was looking for you in the garden. Above pink poppies and white cleome I saw scarlet blossoms, a sweet cluster I could not name without you near. Then A strange voice came ...
Happy Warrior

Embrace the Suck

Is it just me or does it seem like every time Ted Cruz has a Great Idea, conservatives end up fractious and divided and fighting among ourselves for two weeks ...
Politics & Policy

Letter

Ida Armed In the illustration for your August 25 cover (“The Great Equalizer”), Roman Genn sketched Ida B. Wells brandishing what appears to be a Remington rolling-block rifle — a single-shot ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ New administration line: We are not not at war with the Islamic State. ‐ President Obama’s speech on his new Iraq war ventured onto the shaky ground of theology. “ISIL ...
Athwart

Political Suicide

‘Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.” So said Nancy Pelosi, speaking on the civilizational apex that is Bill Maher’s show. ...

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