The PJ Tatler

'Runaway' Health Spending Really Isn't Running Anywhere

Out of control? Not so much.

New data show that health spending over the past several years has been normalizing toward the rate of general inflation, rather than growing higher and higher, as had been the case almost continuously since the 1970s. This moderation in the growth rate of spending predates the national recession. And it puts the lie to the claim that we need government to put the brakes on an “out-of-control” health-care system.

Of course, the explanation for all of this involves data and facts, so it’s a lock that it’ll be ignored by Team Lightbringer and all of the fear-mongering attendants to this administration.

Contrary to the perennial doomsaying, the health-care system is—almost in spite of itself—getting better. A generation of breakthrough drugs for chronic disease, mental illness, HIV and cancer were developed in the 1980s and ’90s at great cost. Dozens of these drugs—like Zocor for heart disease or Zyprexa for schizophrenia—are now widely available, many in generic form. There are now countless electronic ways of telling patients about them. And health insurers are driven by their own evolving market disciplines to make sure patients start taking them and keep taking them in the cheapest available versions.

Now that there is some evidence that the BIG SCARY MONSTER isn’t really there, the question is whether any of the GOP candidates can articulate an effective counter message.

I’ll be over at the corner of Weary & Skeptical waiting for that.