There’s been a lot of trumpeting about how health care spending has been slowing. Some attributed that to the economy, others to the ACA. Some of us, on the other hand, have been more skeptical. I hate it when cynicism is rewarded. Here’s a sampling of the bad news:

Per capita health care spending for under-65 year olds with employer based insurance went up 4.6% to $4547

Per capita health care spending for children went up 7.7% to $2347

Per capita out-of-pocket spending went up 4.6% to $735

Surgical admission average facility price went up 8.5% to $29,858

Emergency room average facility price went up 5.4% to $1381

Via And this morning was looking so promising… | The Incidental Economist.

As a followup, Megan McArdle


I had a somber conversation with an economist of my acquaintance about what health care cost moderation might mean. If Obamacare's boosters were right, it would mean more money to spend on other things--at least, for those of us who are not doctors or nurses. But if they were wrong, and the moderation in cost growth indeed resulted from the economic slowdown, any long term moderation in cost growth would also be accompanied by long-term moderation in economic growth--a cure worse than the disease. Health care costs that grow at 3% when the economy is growing at 1% are not better than health care costs growing at 5% when the economy is growing at 3%. They are much, much worse.