Twenty million or so more people have health insurance now than they did before Obamacare, and yet the American health care system is on track to spend $2.6 trillion less from 2014 to 2019 than before the Affordable Care Act became law. That's right -- $2.6 trillion, which is equivalent to about 1.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. That's the conclusion researchers at the Urban Institute came to when comparing health care spending projections made in 2010 before Congress passed the ACA, and projections made later that year after President Barack Obama enacted the statute, with more recent findings.
Although the Urban Institute researchers stop short of crediting the ACA with the seeming shift in the health care spending trend, they do note that if the Medicare actuaries and the CBO are wrong, and if Obamacare's cost-cutting initiatives are working as Congress intended, the overall numbers could wind up smaller still. "Even the current CMS forecast could prove too high," the report concludes. "If current CMS projections do not fully reflect this pattern, spending projections will continue to fall and it will become harder not to attribute at least some of the sustained cost containment to the ACA."