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May 22, 2012
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St. Petersburg
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It's The Cost-Sharing, Stupid: Health Care Spending Is Slowing Because Americans Control More Of Their Health Dollars - Forbes

There’s been a lot of discussion about the recent slowdown in the growth of national health expenditures. Over the past five years, while spending continues to grow, it has grown at a slower rate than in the years prior. The Obama administration, naturally, is claiming that Obamacare is responsible—even though the slowdown started before the President took office. Whatever you think of Obamacare, however, there are two far more convincing reasons why health spending has slowed.

The first is the Great Recession, which has slowed health spending around the world. The second is that Americans are now much more responsible for their own health spending, a development that has made them more frugal.

Another likely factor in the slowdown is the fact that Americans are paying much more directly for the cost of their own health care.

The bottom line is that, as the cost of health care has continued to escalate, employers have been requiring workers to shoulder more of the responsibility for their own health spending. That trend, in turn has led workers to be more frugal in how they spend their health dollars. That’s as it should be.

It’s easy to waste other people’s money. But when you’re paying directly for care, especially in a challenging economy, you’re going to be much more mindful of how you spend it.
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