There is an excellent article by New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter in the April 22nd, 2014 issue with the same headline as above. If you read only one healthcare article this week, this is the one to read. It is just great. Click here for a link to the article.
In summary the article describes how healthcare costs are poised to continue to rise—even though they have been growing more slowly for the last several years. There was a fantastic article from the NY Times in 1993 that stated that healthcare cost increases were slowing and were very optimistic about the future. Well, we all know what has happened to healthcare costs since 1993—they have skyrocketed!
In terms of Obamacare, the article states, “The Affordable Care Act may well be on track to meeting its primary goal of providing coverage for most uninsured Americans and protecting everyone against the risk of losing their insurance. But for all its innovative proposals to flush waste out of the system, reining in health care spending still appears well beyond the grasp of Obamacare.”
In regards to solutions, the article goes on to say, “David Cutler of Harvard points to studies that suggest that straightforward changes, such as improving the dismal management of American hospitals, could cut health care costs by 25 to 50 percent. Getting better is not rocket science.”
The article goes on to state that the most likely reason for slowed healthcare cost growth is most likely the two recessions after the dot.com bubble burst in the early 2000s and the most recent recession from 2008-present. Now that the economy is heating up, healthcare costs are expected to quickly rise again.
What does all this mean for employee benefits professionals and healthcare consumers?
- Better to face reality than have your head in the sand—healthcare costs are likely to rise faster again.
- Rising healthcare costs will most likely not be abated by Obamacare and they are a stubborn problem for employers, individuals and the nation as a whole.
- The problem is solvable—see my post on ‘The Company That Solved Healthcare’ entitled Case Study: 2,000 Employee Company has Flat Healthcare Trend for 10 Years