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Déjà vu all over again: Health-care spending back on the rise

Déjà vu all over again: Health-care spending back on the rise

As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Democratic presidential candidates are sparring over what to do in its second decade. Should we build on the ACA? Or scrap it, relying instead on private markets or “Medicare for All”? As the debate heats up, it’s worth reflecting on what the ACA has accomplished so far — and what it hasn’t.

The primary goal of the ACA was to expand health insurance coverage. In that sense, it has been wildly successful: despite recent declines in coverage, since 2010 nearly 20 million people became insured. A secondary goal was to lower spending growth. It’s right there in the name: make health care affordable.

Clearly, providing subsidized insurance to people who were previously uninsured makes health care more affordable to them. But health-care spending is crowding out other important services from public and private budgets.

Medical bills play a role in 60 percent of personal bankruptcy filings. Recent polls put availability and affordability of healthcare at the top of potentially worrisome issues for the fifth straight year. So the key question is: How successful was the ACA in making health care more affordable to society as a whole? Did it reduce the growth of health-care spending?  Read more of this article on the website at:

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