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April 30, 2014

First Quarter Of ObamaCare Sees Health Care Spending Increase At Fastest Rate Since 1980 And As A Bonus, GDP "Growth" Screeches To A Halt

Trigger Warning: These two stories may drive you to drink and/or a stroke.

Healthcare spending the first quarter of 2014 grew at a faster rate at anytime since the third quarter of 1980. Coincidentally I'm sure, this was also the first quarter in which ObamaCasre was in full effect.

With millions of Americans gaining coverage through President Obama's health care law, health care spending spiked by a staggering 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 — the fastest rate since 1980 — according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Obamacare was pitched as a plan to reduce health care spending, and formally titled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." In 2009, Obama called the status quo — in which health care spending was accelerating toward becoming one-fifth of the economy — "unsustainable."

Funny aside...it was just a few months ago Obama was touting how slowly healthcare spending was growing (even though the promise of ObamaCare was to decrease costs).

From November 20, 2013:

The slowing growth in health care costs isn’t just a fluke or a remnant of the recession, the White House asserted in a report released Wednesday, but rather a result of reforms in Obamacare.

The White House report is an attempt to shape the debate over how much credit should be given to the Affordable Care Act for the growth in health care spending dropping to its lowest levels since the 1960s.

President Barack Obama has cited the data as evidence for why the law is working, despite the bumpy rollout of HealthCare.gov. But the debate over the reduction in health care costs is far from settled, as studies conclude other factors have been more significant, namely the drop in employment and health care utilization during the recession.

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, which authored the report, said the Affordable Care Act “is a very important part of the story.”

Prediction: ObamaCare won't be seen as "an important part of" today's story.

The other possible spin will be, "See how much pent up demand there was for health care? Sure it's expensive but damn it people needed it". (Added: Yep)

I'm sure Vox.com is figuring out all you need to know about this as we speak. Spoiler: It won't include "repealing ObamaCare".

But at least the Obama recovery is growing the economy so fast we can now afford this new spending.

Oh.

The U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter to one of the weakest paces of the five-year recovery as the frigid winter appeared to have curtailed business investment and weakness overseas hurt exports.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, advanced at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast growth at a 1.1% pace for the quarter.

The broad slowdown to start the year halted what had been improving economic momentum during much of 2013. In the second half of last year, the economy expanded at a 3.4% pace. The first-quarter reading fell far below even the lackluster average annual gain of near 2% since the recession ended.

It seems the media has settled on a narrative here.

The U.S. economy grew in the first quarter — but very, very, very slowly. Frigid winter weather dampened forward progress. Improved economic data out since the quarter ended, however, caused many people to minimize the weight they were placing on the figure even before it was released Wednesday morning.

See, unlike every other year in recorded history, this year had....a winter. What can you do about that sort of freak occurrence? Certainly you can't blame Obama.

Predicted (and possibly true) Vox.com spin..."If not for all the government spending on healthcare there'd have been negative GDP growth! You're welcome."

I say possibly true (estimates are without the huge jump in spending "growth" would have been -1%)because if people hadn't had to spend so much money on health insurance and health care they might have put that money to more productive uses and generate actual economic growth. There's going to be a lot of arguing about this.

Bottom line: Health care costs through the roof, economy at or near recession.

BTW- If "winter" is the cause of economic slowdowns, shouldn't we speeding up "global warming"?

Added: For a non-winter look at why growth collapsed read this.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:19 AM

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