While the aftermath of the Great Recession lingers, economists disagree over what credit to give the tepid economy for continued sluggish healthcare spending.
Researchers from Northwestern University are the latest to weigh in, predicting a pending bounce back for healthcare spending once the economy picks up more steam. They join heavyweight economists at public agencies, other universities, think tanks and consulting firms in an ongoing debate over what put the brakes on health spending and, more importantly, how long the brakes will stay on.
Not long, as economic recovery continues and intensifies, contends David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite and Christopher Ody, writing in the journal Health Affairs. The economy accounted for 70% of the recent drag on health spending growth, according to their analysis. “This suggests that the recent decline is not primarily the result of structural change in the health sector or of components of the Affordable Care Act and that—absent other change in the healthcare system—an economic recovery will result in increased health spending,” they wrote.