Health Spending Chews Through a Weak Economy

The federal government’s second estimate of fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP), published Friday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, confirmed what we pointed out from the initial estimate released on January 30: Health spending is chewing up more and more of the weakening economic recovery.

GDP growth was actually revised down from the initial estimate of 2.6 percent to a second estimate of just 2.2 percent. In dollar terms, it was a drop from $106 billion to just $88.1 billion.

Health spending, initially estimated at $20.4 billion, was tweaked up a little to $21.4 billion. In other words, health spending devoured one-quarter of GDP growth in the fourth quarter.

These are the wages of Obamacare: an increasing share of our prosperity diverted to a health sector that is increasingly frustrating to patients and physicians alike.

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For the pivotal alternative to Obamacare, please see the Independent Institute’s widely acclaimed book: Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman.

John R. Graham is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute.
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