In the past few weeks, a spate of new data – both from the government as well as independent organizations - has inspired a little optimism about the U.S. health care system.
For starters, the percentage of uninsured people has fallen to its lowest rate in recent history, in the wake of the first year of Obamacare’s health exchanges and the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
Another piece of good news announced by the Health and Human Services department this week was that health care spending has slowed to its lowest rate of growth on record. Of course, much of that can be attributed to the sluggish economic conditions — so it’s unclear whether the spending rate will tick back up once the economy improves. For now, it’s good news.
The government also released a report earlier this week revealing that hospitals have trimmed their medical error rate — down 17 percent. This is a huge deal since preventable medical errors and hospital-acquired infections have led to thousands of unnecessary deaths, serious injuries and billions in health care costs each year. The report said the decline in errors amounted to at least 50,000 saved lives and more than $12 billion in cost savings.
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