The law has also begun to curb rising health costs across the system by cracking down on waste and fraud and creating powerful incentives for hospitals to spend their resources more wisely. These reforms have already led to significant improvements in health outcomes. That includes the first drop in hospital readmissions for Medicare beneficiaries on record, which means when people with Medicare go home from the hospital, they are more likely to stay healthy and less likely to return.
Just as importantly, this progress has contributed to the slowest sustained growth in health spending in 50 years. National health care spending has now grown at historic lows for three consecutive years—and Medicare and Medicaid spending is growing even slower. In 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose by less than 0.5 percent, while Medicaid spending actually dropped by nearly 2 percent.
The health care law is demonstrating the right way to deal with rising costs. Instead of simply shifting the burden onto seniors and the needy, it’s bringing down costs across the system by improving care coordination and cutting waste. And it’s holding insurance companies accountable by limiting how much of your premium they can spend on marketing and overhead. This protection has already produced $13.9 million in rebates for residents of Michigan.