The great deceleration in health costs continues, with nominal Medicare spending actually lower in the first two months of fiscal year 2014 than in 2013. Focusing on Medicare is particularly interesting, since there is no reason to suspect that Medicare spending has been affected by the recession. If the slowdown in Medicare were to continue in the future, everything we think we know about the nation's long-term fiscal picture is wrong -- as this crucial graph from the Council of Economic Advisers shows. There's plenty we can be doing to increase the odds that the deceleration goes on.
- Peter Orszag was director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget from 2009-2010. He's a vice chairman at Citigroup and a columnist at Bloomberg View.