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Despite Health Spending Slowdown, Cost Control Efforts Must Continue

Efforts begun in recent years to control U.S. health care spending should continue, regardless of what's behind the recent slowdown in cost growth, say The Commonwealth Fund's David Blumenthal, M.D., and Kristof Stremikis and Harvard University's David Cutler, Ph.D., in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article.

In "Health Care Spending—A Giant Slain or Sleeping," the authors explain that health care costs last year rose by only 0.8 percent per person, the third straight year of moderate cost growth and slightly less than the rate of GDP growth per capita. The new trend may be fueled in part by the Affordable Care Act's payment reforms, which seek to move the nation away from paying for care on a fee-for-service basis and toward a system driven by value.

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