This is starting to be a really big deal. Over the last few years, health costs in the US have grown at their slowest pace in the last 50 years. This is important because projections of the federal budget deficit, projections of state health care costs in programs like Medicaid and health costs for businesses all are drastically altered if we actually are able to slow the rate of health care cost growth.
Simply put, if health costs continue on this trajectory of much lower growth, our long-term worry about federal deficits is given some much-needed breathing room. For a state like North Carolina, a continuation of our already lowest-in-the-nation cost growth in our Medicaid program would mean a much stabler state budget and more flexibility to meet state needs.
Some have argued that the health spending slowdown is simply due to the lingering effects of the recession, but a new study detailed in the health policy journal Health Affairs is showing surprising data that a substantial part of the spending slowdown will continue:
Our findings suggest cautious optimism that the slowdown in the growth of health spending may persist—a change that, if borne out, could have a major impact on US health spending projections and fiscal challenges facing the country.