The authors of the report make it clear that while the Affordable Care Act may have played some role, it is far from the main contributor... A bit of this has to do with lower-than-expected health insurance enrollment. Medicaid, for example, has millions fewer enrollees than CBO initially expected -- a product of the Supreme Court making the program's expansion optional in 2011.

But this isn't the case everywhere: Medicare, for example, is expected to have 700,000 additional enrollees in 2019 for $96 billion less... This has everything to do with the fact that per-person costs of health care are dropping. Forecasters now expect Medicare to spend $12,527 per person in 2019 -- significantly less than their estimate of $13,990 in 2010.

... The health care law significantly reduced certain Medicare payments. It also created dozens of new programs that pay hospitals based on the quality of care they provide, not just the quantity... Hospital readmissions, for example, have fallen sharply since Medicare began penalizing providers for those unnecessary repeat visits.


But for individual consumers, slower health spending likely doesn't feel cheaper at all. In fact, it probably feels more expensive: One big way private insurers have held down costs is by asking consumers to pay a larger and larger chunk of their medical bills.

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