The new CMS report on health care spending

I’ve been getting a lot of email asking about the new report from CMS.  You know the one.  Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended.  Yes, the report says that by 2019, the law will increase health care spending by 1%.

I’m confused. Some of you are emailing me as if this is some sort of vindication that you were right and I was wrong.  As if you’ve uncovered some hidden truth that the law will make things cost more.


No one claimed that covering 30 million more people would cost less.  Some have claimed that it will slow cost growth.  The jury is still out on that.  But come on.  This is still a decent deal.  Ezra Klein shows it well through two charts:

The first looks at national health expenditures with and without the Affordable Care Act:


Now look at the change in the uninsured:


And that actually understates the case. Third Way, the centrist policy outfit, sent over its own analysis of the data. “The fact is that by 2019, national health spending per insured person will be $15,132 compared to $16,812 without the new law,” they write. “That’s 10 percent less spending per insured person than it would have been, according to the actuary’s report.”

You don’t have to love the law.  And it has flaws.  But this report hasn’t found a new one.

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