In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2013 / 2 Elul, 5773

ObamaCare has already caused health care cost growth to slow?

By Robert J. Samuelson

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In today’s contentious political climate, when hardly anyone agrees on anything, here’s a rare subject of consensus: Health spending is slowing, and almost everyone thinks that’s a good thing. Aside from relieving pressures on federal and state budgets, it could help reverse stagnant wages by moderating the cost of employer-paid insurance. Compensation would shift from insurance to wages. What the experts don’t agree on is who (or what) caused the slowdown and whether it will continue.

First, the basic figures. In each of 2009, 2010 and 2011, U.S. health spending increased a modest 3.9 percent, virtually identical with the slow growth of the economy (gross domestic product, or GDP). So health spending remained steady at 17.9 percent of GDP after years of increases. Almost no one predicted this.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration suggests that the Affordable Care Act (”Obamacare”) is a main cause. “As ACA Implementation Continues, Consumer Health Care Cost Growth Has Slowed” is the headline of a recent White House blog post by Alan Krueger, head of the Council of Economic Advisers. Many statistical sources, he notes, confirm the slowdown.

As of May, actual health-care prices (hospital admissions, doctors’ visits, drugs) had risen just 1.1 percent over the previous year, “the slowest rate of increase in nearly 50 years,” Krueger reports. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of business compensation finds that “real” (inflation-adjusted) health insurance costs rose 1.8 percent annually from the end of 2009 to the end of 2012, down from 2.2 percent from 2006 to 2009.

But is Obamacare responsible? Be skeptical.

To be fair: Krueger never actually makes that claim. The blog post is something of a sleight of hand. It simply says that the spending slowdown and the ACA’s implementation have coincided. There’s no explicit language linking the two, though unsuspecting readers would surely take away that message. The post is both politically self-serving and intellectually defensible.

Among the skeptics is economist Timothy Taylor, whose “Conversable Economist” blog is consistently nonpartisan. In a post, Taylor notes that the ACA “is mostly not yet implemented,” casting doubt on its impact. He also cites several studies indicating that the slowdown has complex origins.

One study comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of 34 mostly rich nations. Growth in health spending has collapsed in most of its member countries, says the OECD. A global slowdown calls into question Obamacare’s role.

In some countries, says the OECD, acute economic crises have forced steep cuts in government health spending. In both 2010 and 2011, Greece’s real health spending dropped 11 percent. Elsewhere, slowdowns seem to accompany weak economies. In Canada, real health spending increased an average of 4.6 percent annually from 2000 to 2009 but fell to 3 percent in 2010 and 0.8 percent in 2011. Both government and private health spending subsided in many countries, says the OECD.

The recession may explain the U.S. slowdown. Even the insured may have postponed some care to save out-of-pocket costs. As the number of uninsured rose, some care may have been foregone altogether. Or people may have moved from private insurance to Medicaid, a federal-state program for the poor. This would dampen spending, because reimbursement rates are lower for Medicaid than for private insurance.

A second study was done by Charles Roehrig and colleagues at the Center for Sustainable Health Spending in Ann Arbor, Mich. In a 2012 article for the New England Journal of Medicine, they argued that the slowdown began in 2005, well before President Obama’s election. That, too, would seem to limit Obamacare’s influence. The study attributed the slowdown to “structural” changes, including: use of less-expensive generic drugs; higher patient co-payments and deductibles, which discouraged some care; and lower administrative costs in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

But Roehrig doesn’t completely dismiss Obamacare’s effect. It may have inspired a general cautiousness. “The industry is looking around and saying, ‘We’ve got to cut costs,’” he said in an interview.

Will the spending slowdown continue? At least three forces favor a speedup: the start in 2014 of most of Obamacare — as more people get insurance, they use more medical care; an increasingly older population — average health costs for those 65 and over are more than triple those for people ages 25 to 44; and the economic recovery, which may extend employer-paid coverage to more workers. A slowdown that overcomes these pressures would suggest major “structural” changes and not just temporary savings from the recession.

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08/09/11: The big danger is Europe
07/27/11: Why are we in this debt fix? It's the elderly, stupid
07/25/11: Postwar Pillars Of Capitalism Are Crumbling
01/27/11: How Obama's speech muddied the budget debate
01/24/11: China's new world order demands stronger U.S. response
10/18/10: What's left in the Fed's toolbox?
10/11/10: The Age of Austerity
09/20/10: The ritual of sound-bite economics
08/09/10: America's parent trap
08/02/10: Hope for our energy future
07/29/10: Why CEOs aren't hiring
06/07/10: Duped by success
05/31/10: Why Obama's poverty rate measure misleads
05/17/10: Wake up, America
03/22/10: The maestro's misconceptions
03/15/10: Obama's illusions of cost-control
01/14/10: In the aftermath of the Great Recession
12/29/09: Democracy's demolition derby
11/30/09: Bipartisan threats against the institution that saved America from depression
09/14/09: Give It to Us Straight
09/07/09: Bad Future for Jobs?
08/24/09: A Rail Boondoggle, Moving at High
08/10/09: Championing the Status Quo
08/03/09: We'll remain in denial, prisoners of wishful thinking, until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future
07/27/09: Obama's misleading medicine
07/13/09: Americans' self-indulgence hurts us
07/06/09: Economists out to lunch
06/29/09: Panics ‘R’ Us!
06/08/09: Flirting with deflation or inflation? Now the economy might be at risk of both
05/25/09: A ‘crisis’ America needs
05/18/09: Will somebody finally say that Obama is irresponsibly mortgaging our future?
05/04/09: The Bias Against Oil And Gas
04/27/09: Environmentalists maximize the dangers of global warming while pretending we can conquer it at virtually no cost
04/20/09: Our Depression Obsession
03/23/09: Geithner treads a line between financial paralysis and populist resentment
03/23/09: American Capitalism Besieged
01/06/09: The limits of pump priming
12/29/08: Humbled By Our Ignorance
07/31/08: The homeownership obsession
07/24/08: A Depression? Hardly
07/17/08: Why isn't globalization making the interconnected world more stable?

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