Today Brings Yet More Obamacare Non-Failure


I’ve written frequently about the fact that the rapid growth in US health care costs has slowed down in recent years. Here’s the latest version of the slowdown, courtesy of the Urban Institute:

The raw data for this chart comes the national health expenditures forecast issued annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. As you can see, their latest forecast for the year 2019 is about $500 billion less than it was in 2010. The cumulative forecast for 2014-19 is now $2.6 trillion less than it was in 2010.

It’s hard to say how much, if any, of this decrease is due to Obamacare. My own guess is that the cost-saving parts of Obamacare haven’t had time to really kick in yet, which means the recent slowdown in health care costs is most likely just an extension of the slowdown that’s been percolating behind our backs for more than three decades.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to say about Obamacare here. CMS did forecasts both before and after Obamacare passed, and they predicted that Obamacare would increase spending. Lots of conservatives predicted the same thing. But it didn’t happen. Here’s the chart for private health care spending:

The figures are even more dramatic for Medicare and Medicaid spending. The jury may still be out on Obamacare’s long-term effect on controlling health care costs, but one thing is sure: all the hysteria about Obamacare causing costs to skyrocket was entirely unfounded.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.