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Cathey Park of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows her cast signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he spoke about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013. The writing on the cast reads,
Spending in health care has been slowing down for a couple of years now, a trend that analysts haven't entirely been able to explain. Now there's another trend they need to figure out, and a good one: health prices are increasing more slowly now than they have in half a century.
[H]ealth care prices are actually growing at the slowest pace they have in decades, according to charts from the Council of Economic Advisers.
Chart of inflation in general household spending compared to heath care spending, 1960-2013.
This chart shows both how quickly health care prices are going up—and how quickly the price of everything else is increasing. And since about 2010, both have been growing at nearly the same rate. Health care prices grew 0.9 percent since between January and March of this year, which the White House says is the slowest rate of growth in 50 years.
That doesn't mean, as Sarah Kliff points out in this story, that the U.S. doesn't have insanely high healthcare costs. A day in the hospital in the U.S. averages $4,932; in Spain, it's $481. But slower increasing costs of healthcare, combined with slower increasing healthcare spending, is undeniably good news. It doesn't mean that we don't need more healthcare reform to put our costs more in line with the rest of the developed world, but it could reflect well on Obamacare. And if lawmakers start feeling good about what they achieved with that law, they'll be less frightened of further reform.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Good News and Daily Kos.

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