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Deconstructing the slowdown in healthcare costs


Timothy Jost, writing in HealthAffairs about the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, writes:

A report {by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services} “does not claim that the ACA was responsible for all of the decrease in spending growth over the past half decade. It recognizes that the slowdown in spending since 2009 has been driven by a number of factors unrelated to the ACA: the slow recovery from the recession, expiring prescription drug patents and a corresponding increase in the use of generic drugs, ongoing shifts in the site of care from inpatient to outpatient settings and to prescription drugs, and a greater emphasis on enrollee cost sharing in private insurance plans. But the report asserts that some credit must be given to the ACA for reductions in Medicare provider payment updates and Medicare Advantage payment rates, purchasing reforms, increase program integrity efforts, state Medicaid cost containment, and shifts in coverage to public programs which have also contributed to slowed expenditure growth.”






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