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    Posted April 29, 2012 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    Healthcare Spending Goes Flat - Good Sign?


    Most  of us may be shocked to learn that studies are showing that healthcare  spending seems to be flattening and not rising even as costs have risen.  Some of the reason is admittedly because of the economic crisis, but  the same is being seen with those subscribed in Medicare and Medicaid  where the crisis has no impact.

    Does this leveling off in healthcare spending a positive for the overall US economy?

    Or is the lessing of people seeking treatment indicative of an underlying issue?

    The  growth of health spending has slowed substantially in the past few  years, surprising experts and offering some fuel for optimism about the  federal government's long-term fiscal performance.

    Much of the  slowdown is because of the recession, and thus not unexpected, health  experts said. But some of it seems to be due to changing behavior by  consumers and providers of health care - meaning that the lower rates of  growth might persist even as the economy picks up.

    Because  Medicare and Medicaid are two of the largest contributors to the  country's long-term debts, slower growth in health costs could reduce  the pressure for enormous spending cuts or tax increases.

    In 2009  and 2010, total nationwide health care spending grew at less than 4  percent per year, the slowest annual pace in more than five decades,  according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicaid and  Medicare Services. After years of taking up a growing share of economic  activity, health spending held steady in 2010, at 17.9 percent of the  gross domestic product.

    The growth rate mostly slowed as millions  of Americans lost insurance coverage along with their jobs. Worried  about job security, others may have feared taking time off work for  doctor's visits or surgical procedures, or skipped non-urgent care when  money was tight.

    Still, the slowdown was sharper than health  economists expected, and a broad, bipartisan range of academics,  hospital administrators and policy experts has started to wonder if what  had seemed impossible might be happening - that doctors and patients  have begun to change their behavior in ways that bend the so-called cost  curve.


    From the Cornfield, with most recent brush with the healthcare system, this does present an interesting question.

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