Report: Healthcare spending growing at slowest pace on record

The White House on Wednesday released a report that shows healthcare spending has grown at the slowest rate on record under the Affordable Care Act.

The report, produced by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), comes as the administration tries to emphasize positive news about the new law amid stories about its troubled website and the cancellation of millions of individual health plans. The report said healthcare spending between 2010 and 2013 grew at an annual rate of only 1.3 percent. That’s the lowest rate dating back to 1965, when the metric was first calculated.

Brendan Buck, the press secretary for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), shot back saying the numbers are depressed because the economy continues to struggle.

 

The slowdown in healthcare costs stretches across, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, according to the report. The White House said this was evidence the reduction in spending is due to more than just a slow economic recovery.

“The fact that the health cost slowdown has persisted so long even as the economy is recovering, the fact that it is reflected in health care prices — not just utilization or coverage, and the fact that it has also shown up in Medicare — which is more insulated from economic trends, all imply that the current slowdown is the result of more than just the recession and its aftermath,” wrote Jason Furman, the chairman of the CEA.

“Rather, the slowdown appears to reflect ‘structural’ changes in the United States health care system, a conclusion consistent with a substantial body of recent research,” he concluded.

Furman credited ObamaCare with lowering healthcare spending. He said the law has reduced Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers, reduced hospital readmission rates, and promoted more efficient, high-quality care.