There are mixed opinions among health policy experts about whether the recent slowdown in health care spending growth will last, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
According to the AP/Bee, U.S. health spending in 2009 and 2010 grew by the slowest recorded rate in more than 50 years. Estimates suggest the trend continued in 2011, with the growth rate under 4% and consistent with the overall economy.
Those figures led some experts to believe that cost-saving efforts, such as reducing emergency department visits and limiting costly and unnecessary imaging tests are working.
However, other experts are skeptical of that assessment.
Stephen Heffler, director of national health statistics for CMS' Office of the Actuary, said, "It's too early to say that something significant and dramatic and permanent has occurred."
Other health experts say that the recession is the driving force behind the slowdown and that medical spending will increase as the economy recovers (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/17).