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TomCADem

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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,091

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Health Spending Has Lowest Rate Increase on Record

Source: U.S. News and World Report

The U.S. is spending more on health care every year, but last year the growth rate in medical spending was the lowest on record, a change government researchers are attributing both to the economy and to various health care policy implementations, including Obamacare.

The Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services presented the findings at a Health Affairs event Wednesday at the National Press Club in the nation's capital. The increase in spending on health care in 2013 was at 3.6 percent, lower than it has ever been since 1960, when the government began tracking the figure. Total spending on health care increased to $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person.

The government researchers found that health care spending slowed by half a percentage point from 2012 to 2013 a change they attribute to a slower growth in private health insurance and Medicare spending. Slower growth in spending for hospital care, investments in medical structures and equipment, and spending for doctors and clinical care also contributed to the low overall increase, states the Health Affairs report.

Still, the economy played a significant part in the outcomes, which even before reaching the lowest record last year did not grow above 4.1 percent from 2009 to 2013. The low rate of health spending falls in concert with slow overall economic growth since 2009, or what is considered to be the end of the great recession. In fact, that year showed the next-lowest increase in health spending, at 3.8 percent. Since that time, share of gross domestic product on health care has remained at 17.4 percent.

Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/12/03/health-spending-has-lowest-rate-increase-on-record



This should be bigger news, but many corporate news outlets are reporting this simply as Health Spending Increases, which is totally misleading! The passage of the ACA was supposed to start "bending the cost curve," which it has,

Is The News of Economic Weakness and Unease Corporate Propaganda?

On the one hand, corporate profits are up, unemployment is down, stock market is up, oil prices are down, sales are up, etc. In other words, according to the traditional metrics are that the economy is growing and continuing to grow. Yet, we also here news through the narrative of the unease of Americans with the economy and that they are hurting and uneasy despite the statistics that appear far better than during most of the Bush years when things seemed to be in a state of precipitous decline.

My wonder is whether the economic narrative is actually designed to keep workers docile? In other words, despite the fact that corporate profits are booming, don't ask for a raise or an increase in benefits because it is a tough world out there, and we can replace you in a moment. Also, ignore the unemployment numbers because there is are uncounted unemployed who will quickly take your job. Put another way, is the repeated narrative of economic unease designed to keep American workers fearful about demanding higher wages and better benefits?

That way, as the economy grows, profits go to the 1 percent, since they do not actually have any increased costs due to higher wages, since workers are fearful of asking for their fair share, since it is a tough economy out there despite the lower unemployment, stronger US dollar, increased sales, etc. Oh by the way, vote for a Republican Congress, because things are terrible and while you are at it buy some gold from Glenn Beck, because inflation is going to shoot up....some day...

So, the corporate news narrative operates to reinforce the stagnation in working class wages, because it keeps workers docile from demanding their fair share of a growing economy.
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