In October, the price of medical care jumped a seasonally adjusted 0.7% to mark the biggest gain in five months, according to the consumer price index. And over the past year, medical care has risen at an unadjusted 3% annual rate. That’s the fastest advance in a year and a half.
What’s gotten more expensive is treatment in hospitals. The price of hospital-related care has climbed 5.3% in the past 12 months, the highest rate since mid-2014, the government reported Tuesday.
Analyst Omar Sharif at SG Americas Security said the increase in October might reflect problems with the process of calculating monthly changes. Prices of medical care rose slower than usual during the summer and they might be catching up now as government gets a better handle on actual costs. The same pattern emerged early in the year.
Health insurance is also on track to post the biggest annual increase in three years. The cost of insurance has climbed at a 3% pace in the past 12 months.
The author of the piece, Jeffry Bartash, notes that the rise was “largely driven by a jump in prices in the West, though the reasons are unclear.” And while I realize that correlation is not causation, California — one of those state in the West, don’t you know — is one of the few states where ♡bamaCare!!! signups were almost in line with expectations, and where Medicaid expansion enrollment was more than triple what anyone had planned for.
Those two facts might have a little something to do with how the Affordable Care Act is making care more unaffordable than ever.