How the rise of Consumer Centric Healthcare is driving down medical costs in the US

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    Apr 30, 2012 2:55 AM GMT
    The New York Times buries the lede yet again - though even their incredulity that these things are happening even before Obamacare really takes effect they do point out what many experts are saying -

    Many experts — and the Medicare and Medicaid center itself — point to the explosion of high-deductible plans, in which consumers have lower premiums but pay more out of pocket, as one main factor. The share of employees enrolled in high-deductible plans surged to 13 percent in 2011 from 3 percent in 2006, according to Mercer Consulting.

    That means thousands of consumers with an incentive to think twice about heading to the doctor. One study by the RAND Corporation found that health spending among people who shifted into a high-deductible plan dropped 14 percent — though the study also found that enrollees cut back on some care that tended to save money in the long run, like vaccinations.

    High deductible plans are directly related to the HSA's developed under the Bush Administration - one of his few interesting domestic agenda items. But of course, as noted, the Obama Administration seems antithetical towards reliquishing control away from governments and hopes to greatly increase their costs:

    It's also the primary argument made by John Mackey @ Whole Foods for which he was vilified:

    For the sake of Americans, and in hopes that the US remains a global leader, I hope the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare.
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    May 06, 2012 4:55 PM GMT
    More here on the NYT's contortions on the article -

    Readers of last Sunday’s front page, for example, were informed that “In Hopeful Sign, Health Spending Is Flattening Out.”

    Hopeful? Well, maybe. The article is full of caveats and to-be-sures like this: “The growth rate mostly slowed as millions of Americans lost insurance coverage along with their jobs. Worried about job security, others may have feared taking time off work for doctor’s visits or surgical procedures, or skipped nonurgent care when money was tight.” Or this: “Some experts caution that there remains too little data to determine whether the current slowdown will become permanent, or whether it is merely a blip caused by the economy’s weakness.”

    But, we’re told, “[M]any other health experts say that there is just enough data to start detecting trends — even if the numbers remain murky, and the vast complexity of the national health care market puts definitive answers out of reach.”

    At this point, an editor might have spiked the story, commenting that all we’ve got are dueling experts who admit that they don’t really know what’s going on amid their “murky” numbers.

    While that might have been good use of editorial discretion, it wouldn’t have advanced the narrative about cost declines, which is this: “If so, it was happening just as the new health care law was coming into force, and before the Supreme Court could weigh in on it or the voters could pronounce their own verdict at the polls.”

    There’s your narrative: ObamaCare is working, and the Supreme Court should back off. Oh, and voters, don’t be mean to the Democrats who rammed this down your throat.

    Despite the fact that, once you’ve gotten through all the caveats and battling experts and murky data there’s not much actual evidence of that — at best, some hopeful supposition, mostly from people with an investment in ObamaCare — the key point shines through: ObamaCare should be saved. It’s working! The rest is just plausible (well, sort of plausible) deniability.

    The Times’ narrative-steering is present again in a Monday front-page story entitled “Experts Believe Iran Conflict Is Less Likely.” This story was previously headlined “Chances of Iran Strike Receding, U.S. Officials Say,” but mysteriously changed.