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Lower Health Care Spending: A New Era in American Health Care?

Health care spending in 2009 and 2010 grew at the slowest rates in 50 years. This startling news, reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was largely attributed to the shrinking economy. In a new blog post, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis, Ph.D., says that overlooked in the discussion is the lower spending that is projected through the end of the decade.

"Either the original estimates were too high," Davis says, "or the tectonic plates underlying the health system are beginning to shift in anticipation of new incentives under health reform or in response to health care leaders' efforts to transform care over the last decade. Predictions that the Affordable Care Act would fail to control costs and, in fact, accelerate spending have not been borne out by the early experience."

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