The Washington Post warned readers that health care costs were about to start rising sharply again in an article reporting new projections from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS). While there is definitely a risk that these projections may be right, and health care will impose a considerably larger burden on the economy over the next decade than it does now, it is worth noting that the projections from CMS have not proven especially accurate in the past.

For example, in 2007 it projected that health care spending would rise as a share of GDP from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 18.8 percent in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available. According to CMS, spending in 2015 was just 17.8 percent of GDP, a full percentage point less than had been projected.

It is also worth noting that we pay roughly twice as much for physicians, drugs, and other items used in providing health care than other wealthy countries. If we become less protectionist over the next decade then we might expect prices in the United States to fall towards world levels, which would dampen the pace of health care cost growth.