Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Medicare Spending Decelerates

This is the most encouraging piece of economic news I've read in a while. Ezekial Emmanuel thinks it will continue and it is a result of health reform measures. If he's right that is very good.

Of course, that's an open question. This graphic is linked to in the first link from the Sullivan article:

It gives you a sense of the variability of these growth rates. It definitely looks quite low, even by recent historical standards - but it all depends on how sustainable the lower growth rate is. This is good medium to long-term news - it doesn't help us with our current problems. In fact abstaining from further stimulus because of debt worries is going to look even dumber in retrospect if this trend continues.


  1. I wonder what relationship statistical mechanics and epistemological uncertainty in economics might have to say if applied to the current employment situation in the United States...


  2. Why not a graph that tracks the entire history of medicare?

  3. Ask the Century Fund - I don't know where that data is although I'm sure its out there.

    Historical data of course doesn't matter for future sustainability. What I'm trying to get a sense of is how plausible the current decline is - if you have the data I'd be interested in seeing it Gary.

    We haven't had ACA controls before so it's not entirely clear why historical data would let us know if its plausible, but I still think it would be interesting to see. If we could stabilize around 3% growth that would be a great improvement.

  4. Um, change of previous year, right?

    It's incredibly tough to tell from graphs, but you do realize that we're experiencing a slight aging slump. Since the Boomers start hitting 65 this year, the last few years represent the wartime years, and hence smaller populations than the bookends.

    Contact me in a couple of years, once the Boomers start hitting Medicare to see if the graph looks the same.


    Do the math, people who turned 65 in 2010 were born in 1945, yes? See the earlier dip around 2006? That marks 1941 births, yes? Sure, there's a bit of a spike in costs in the middle, but might that not be Medicare D installation costs and others?

    History is not that hard.

  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1muBnH8Zhuw&feature=player_embedded

  6. After all the kerfuffle over Tyler's graph, you're just going to ignore your own cherry picking of an X axis?

    You've presented a graph where, if anything, costs should have been steadily declining in absolute terms. Instead we see increasing prices at the same time as decreasing new enrollments. And you're going to pass this off as good analysis?

    Admit to the sauce, gander.

  7. Nonymous -
    There's nothing wrong with the X axis, it would just be nice to have more. I didn't make the graph - I would prefer to see more too so I don't see how I'm cherry picking. And I'm not even sure sure what you're refering to when you say "Tyler's graph".

    Why should costs be steadily declining?

  8. Sorry, you're right, for year over last, the rate should be declining between 2006 and 2011 to match decreasing rates of new enrollments to match the population, as I pointed out above. The graph is clearly cheery picking data points to match the war years. And weren't you one of the one's criticizing Tyler's graph? IF not, I apologize for that.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.