The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is causing a decline in health care spending growth: True or False?

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According to the White House, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed during a time of great growth in spending on health care in the United States; while majority of that spending was towards new treatments and improvement in overall well being and health, the system also was affected by disorganization, and high costs and the declining quality of care for patients (1). The White House states, “a key goal of the ACA was to begin wringing these inefficiencies out of the health care system, simultaneously reducing the growth of health care spending—and its burden on families, employers, and state and federal budgets—while increasing the quality of the care delivered (1).”

While the White House document suggests that 1) spending on health care is at an all time low, 2) inflation in the price of health care is low, 3) and the low spending on health care recently has benefited the Federal budget future outlook, it is still unclear if the ACA is directly responsible for the decrease in spending on growth (1). Although enough evidence is not yet present to correlate this spending decline to the ACA, one of the evidences out of a few that could credit this spending decline to the ACA is that: “ACA provisions that reduce Medicare over payment to private insurers and medical providers are contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending. In addition, ACA reforms that aim to improve the quality of care are reducing hospital readmission rates and increasing provider participation in payment models designed to promote high-quality, integrated care (1).”

In my opinion, I believe that the ACA played a significant role in the decline of health care spending. The ACA collectively addressed many of the weakness that affected our health care system, and is currently working to fix those gaps. As in any large problem, it takes time to fully address the issue, fix the problems and sustain the success. More research and time would be needed to evaluate ACA’s true role in the deceleration of health care spending in the U.S., and it is definitely something I would be interested in knowing. Accordingly, I do believe the claim held by some administration officials that the ACA is responsible for the recent deceleration in the health care spending growth is justified, as explained above.


  1. TRENDS IN HEALTH CARE COST GROWTH AND THE ROLE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. (2013, November). Retrieved from White House Government website:
Copyright © Sherley J. Edinbarough (Surely, Sherley and/or SurelySherley), 2014.

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