New federal estimates show that slower growth in spending on hospitals and doctors contributed to an overall rate of healthcare spending growth that was lower in 2013 than in any other year in half a century.
The numbers from the CMS Office of the Actuary certainly reflect the impact of the healthcare reform law's reductions in the pace of Medicare payment increases for hospitals and doctors. They're also nudged down by the 2% Medicare reduction carried out under the 2011 Budget Control Act, more commonly known as sequestration.
Some economists and policy experts argue that the slower growth in spending on hospitals and doctors should also be attributed at least in part to significant movement by providers, insurers and the government to new payment models that promote more efficient care.
The theory will be tested in the next few years as millions of Americans gain coverage. A suggests the uninsured rate has dropped by 10 million since the launch of coverage expansions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.