In the past four years, the cost of health care in the United States grew at about half the annual rate it did from 1990 to 2007. What accounts for the cost slowdown? According to economists Amitabh Chandra and Jonathan Holmes of Harvard, and Jonathan Skinner from Dartmouth, it wasn’t the sluggish economy or early effects of the Affordable Care Act.
Instead, the economists attributed much of the bending cost curve to the rise of high-deductible health insurance plans, which generally make consumers less likely to use health care services because they have to pay a larger share of the costs.
Other factors: state efforts to rein in Medicaid costs and less spending by hospitals on expensive medical technology.
Read the economists’ paper—“Is This Time Different? The Slowdown in Healthcare Spending”—on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research.