WASHINGTON — Is health care becoming more affordable?
The president regularly talks about the health-care law as both an expansion of insurance coverage and an attempt to control health-care costs. (That's one reason why the word "affordable" turned up in the law's name.) The health-care law contains dozens of experiments, mostly in Medicare, meant to encourage lower spending on health care without cutting into quality. The Obama administration is also optimistic that the new insurance exchanges will drive down the cost of premiums, by putting all insurers into a regulated marketplace.
There are a few ways to measure affordability, one being the country's overall tab for health spending, and watching how quickly -- or slowly -- it grows. (Right now, health-care costs growth is at a historic low -- but it's unclear how much that has to do with the health-care law.) You can also survey Americans directly, about whether they feel it's easier to afford health care. Perhaps surprisingly, these two metrics don't always add up: Even with health costs growth slowing dramatically. public survey research shows Americans feel even more pinched when it comes to their health bills.