At the Intersection of Health, Health Care and Policy Cite this article as: Pricivel M. Carrera Slow Growth In Health Care Spending Health Affairs, 33, no.3 (2014):519-520 doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0078

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Slow Growth In Health Care Spending Although Anne Martin and colleagues (Jan 2014) are cautious about reading too much into the slow growth in health care spending that they report, their findings lend support to the thesis that health care is in the midst of a great moderation, since costs and expenditures have slowed their previously relentless climb. Although this great moderation—which started before the economic slowdown and persists in the current recovery—is most marked in the United States, it is also evident in other advanced economies. In 2011 the average growth rate in health care spending among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was zero, with low or negative growth projected for 2012 in some countries.1 It is worth adding that besides price and wage restraints, structural changes in the health care sector— including the consolidation of health

care facilities and a slowdown in the introduction of technologies—are taking place.2 This suggests that the great moderation in health care could persist for some time.3 Considering that the previously upward trajectory in spending is unsustainable—at least insofar as it entails unacceptable trade-offs with other categories of spending—this development is welcome. Pricivel M. Carrera University of Twente TWENTE , THE NETHERLANDS NOTES 1 Morgan D, Astolfi R. Health spending growth at zero: which countries, which sectors are most affected? [Internet]. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; 2013 [cited 2014 Jan 14]. (OECD Health Working Paper No. 60). Available from: officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/? cote=DELSA/HEA/WD/HWP(2013)1&doc Language=En 2 Houston M, Day M, de Lago M, Zarocostas J. Health services across Europe face cuts as debt crisis begins to bite. BMJ. 2011;343:d5266. 3 Ryu AJ, Gibson TB, McKellar MR, Chernew ME. The slowdown in health care spending in 2009–11 reflected factors other than the weak economy and thus may persist. Health Aff (Millwood). 2013;32(5):835–40.

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