Maybe George W. Bush did know something about health care
People don't bring this up very much, but one of the best ways to control costs in health care -- or any private sector, really -- is to have a huge recession. Robert Pear explains:
Health spending topped $2.3 trillion in 2008, up 4.4 percent from the previous year. But the rate of growth in 2008 was down from 6 percent in 2007 and an average increase of 7 percent a year in the decade from 1998 to 2008. Health care accounted for 16.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008, up from 15.9 percent in 2007, according to the report, by the Department of Health and Human Services.
By slowing the growth of health spending, the recession achieved what a generation of public officials tried unsuccessfully to accomplish. But in their annual report on the topic, federal officials said the deceleration in health spending was a result of the soft economy, and they did not cite any factors that would alter the long-term outlook for continued increases in health spending as baby boomers age and doctors make greater use of new medical technology to treat patients.
Hopefully, we'll figure out a cost control strategy that's a bit easier to stomach than continually depressed economic growth.
Graph credit: New York Times.
January 5, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories: Health Economics
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