Many times I have been asked whether the Affordable Care Act is a good thing. The 1 sentence answer is: “Yes, because it expands health insurance coverage to more Americans, but no because it adds many layers of regulation and does little to slow cost growth.” This last point is rearing its ugly head. Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) reports:
Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced that healthcare spending had risen 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 — the largest quarterly increase in more than 30 years.
The BEA’s estimate comes on the heels of a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics that attributed the jump in spending to increases in physician office visits, hospitalizations, and prescription-drug usage.
Not only did spending increase, but few jobs were created. Austin Frakt writes:
Americans recently poured a lot more of the national economy into health care without moving the needle on the rate of growth in real, human resources (jobs) devoted to delivering care.
The lack of job creation is certainly bad for employment figures. On the other hand, the lack of job growth may indicate rising productivity in the health sector.