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Please begin with an informative title:

A motion blurred photograph of a patient on stretcher or gurney being pushed at speed through a hospital corridor by doctors & nurses to an emergency room.
The great recession had one not-so-disastrous effect, according to a new study by Health Affairs and reported by Sarah Kliff. Seventy-percent of the slowdown in the rise of healthcare costs was caused by the recession, the study finds. They compared the growth of costs in cities that were hit particularly hard against those which weren't.

But what's significant in this study is that a full 30 percent of the slowdown isn't because of the recession, and is because of structural changes in the healthcare system.

"If we trimmed the amount they estimate not to be due to the recession off of health spending for a decade, that would amount to saving $2 trillion over a decade," says Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Even in health care, that's real money." […]

"There's a consensus that there is some of each [economic and structural changes], and that there has been a real slowdown independent of the economic slowdown," says Levitt, whose own research estimates, […] attributes three-quarters of the slowdown to the economy.

"Every reputable study that has looked at this comes to the conclusion that we really have decreased health spending beyond what happened in the economy."

The real significance of this finding is that it suggests that as the economy recovers, healthcare spending won't revert to previous levels. A very good chunk of the reduction in costs is going to persist. That's good for the economy, and for the healthcare reformers—what they've done is working. That provides incentive for even more reform.

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Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 03:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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