The PJ Tatler

Nothing to See Here. Just an Analysis Showing Health Care Cost Trends in Three States Whose Governors are Running for President

Why did you click on the headline? I told you there was nothing to see here.

No matter how the figures are sliced and diced, it is clear that health spending, relative to the national average, rose more quickly during the Romney administration than during either the administrations of Governor Rick Perry or Governor Jon Huntsman. For example, ambulatory healthcare spending per capita was declining relative to the national average when Governor Romney first took office, but has steadily increased every year since then, climbing from 19 percent above the national average in 2003 to 29 percent above the national average by 2007 (figure 12.6c).

In contrast, ambulatory health spending in Texas was steadily declining prior to the arrival of Governor Rick Perry and continued to do so for the first four years of his term. Subsequently, it has risen only slightly, from a low point of 8.8 percent below the U.S. average in 2006 to being 6.3 percent below the average by 2009. Jon Huntsman inherited a somewhat similar situation except that relative spending already had begun to rise slightly before he took office and continued to rise for his first two years, followed by a noticeable relative decline.

Governor Rick Perry inherited relatively stable health facilities expenditures (i.e., rising at about the same rate as the rest of the nation). Relative spending has declined in subsequent years. Governor Huntsman inherited a stable pattern of health facilities expenditures which continued throughout his tenure.

I’m not suggesting that anyone click on the link above, but they do have some graphs and more data to back up this non-story that’s clearly totally irrelevant to the GOP primary. Figure 12.6c is the one you should most avoid looking at. It doesn’t suggest that doing nothing is preferable to doing something the big government way.