As I discussed earlier, I did not believe the first report for the first quarter quarter of 2014 for GDP, which showed a whopping increase of 9.9% annual growth in health use, attributed all to the ACA (see my previous blog posts on that).  We later learned that this was all based on projections and not on any real data.  Most of my health economics friends expected this to be revised downward.

Well it has been, twice.  The third revision of the GDP was announced today (June 25, 2014), and it shows a remarkable downward revision.  As the Council of Economic Advisors is reporting, in the first quarter of 2014, health prices grew at a very slow (historically) 0.5% annual rate, and utilization actual DROPPED at a very dramatic rate of 1.4%, leading to an actual decline of 0.16%, contributing to the dramatic decline in GDP of 2.9% in that quarter (which was mostly attributable to the bad weather).

Now I would not be surprised as this would still be revised again, because the economists at the Bureau of Commerce probably are having a very tough time estimating the effects of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it is being implemented.  Most of us expected an increase in utilization of a few percentage points from a moral hazard effect, eventually.  But this will likely occur only in the states where coverage expansion are occurring more vigorously (that is, states that expanded Medicaid and were more aggressive with Marketplace expansion).  And it may take a little while for all this to play out with utilization.  Nevertheless, early reports are showing about a 25% drop in uninsurance rates across the board.

But if these reports are right it would indicate that many of the efforts to "bend the cost curve" are effective, more effective than many thought (though I am less surprised, because other signs of this happening are showing up elsewhere).