Will The Affordable Care Act Bend The Arc Of History?

The Incidental Economist’s Austin Frakt wonders if the Affordable Care Act will truly reduce the growth of health care spending (i.e. bend the cost curve down) given our history of treating health care as a luxury good, “one on which we spend more of our wealth as that wealth grows.” “With such overwhelming evidence from our past that, despite our efforts, this national health spending curve has not bent, why do we think the future will be much different,” he asks, pointing to this rather startling chart:

On a rather partisan note, it’s worth noting that if the Republicans get their way and repeal the health care law or the cost containment provisions included in it — the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the excise tax on high-cost policies — this line will continue to skyrocket upwards. Under their budget, beneficiaries will be shouldering a greater portion of the health costs.