ObamaCare Fail

With the latest release of its international health expenditure dataset, the World Bank's 2012 database reveals that total health care spending in the United States under ObamaCare is exploding. Total health expenditures in 2012 increased to 17.91% of GDP, up from 17.68% in 2011, and are -- of course -- the highest level in American history. In 2008 before Obama came to office, total health expenditures comprised “only” 16.54% of GDP.

In constant 2005 dollar terms, per capita total health expenditures increased by 3.3% from 2011 ($7,858) to 2012 ($8,119, also the highest ever). Since 2008, real per capita total health expenditures have increased 9.4%. This is anything but “cost containment.”

It is also worth noting that the World Bank has still not fixed portions of its database. As I noted back in November 2013, the World Bank has the exact same data for per capita health expenditures in current US dollar terms and in constant 2005 international dollar terms. This is a major error (i.e., constant dollar figures can never equal current dollar data unless the inflation rate has been zero over the period of record, which obviously is not the case). The correct data can be obtained by multiplying the World Bank's total health expenditures as a percentage of GDP by either the corresponding per capita GDP in constant 2005 international dollars or by the per capita GDP in constant 2005 US dollars (since U.S. dollars are equal to international dollars, the results are equivalent).

Over the past six months, we have seen many articles in the media and statements from the White House claiming that ObamaCare had been successful in containing, and indeed reversing, health care spending. They were all wrong.

With the latest release of its international health expenditure dataset, the World Bank's 2012 database reveals that total health care spending in the United States under ObamaCare is exploding. Total health expenditures in 2012 increased to 17.91% of GDP, up from 17.68% in 2011, and are -- of course -- the highest level in American history. In 2008 before Obama came to office, total health expenditures comprised “only” 16.54% of GDP.

In constant 2005 dollar terms, per capita total health expenditures increased by 3.3% from 2011 ($7,858) to 2012 ($8,119, also the highest ever). Since 2008, real per capita total health expenditures have increased 9.4%. This is anything but “cost containment.”

It is also worth noting that the World Bank has still not fixed portions of its database. As I noted back in November 2013, the World Bank has the exact same data for per capita health expenditures in current US dollar terms and in constant 2005 international dollar terms. This is a major error (i.e., constant dollar figures can never equal current dollar data unless the inflation rate has been zero over the period of record, which obviously is not the case). The correct data can be obtained by multiplying the World Bank's total health expenditures as a percentage of GDP by either the corresponding per capita GDP in constant 2005 international dollars or by the per capita GDP in constant 2005 US dollars (since U.S. dollars are equal to international dollars, the results are equivalent).

Over the past six months, we have seen many articles in the media and statements from the White House claiming that ObamaCare had been successful in containing, and indeed reversing, health care spending. They were all wrong.

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