The growth in healthcare spending will continue in the near term, Carnevale says, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules this week on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"Within states, there are going to be some administrative devices and computerizations of records that will create a system that is much more self-aware and with a lot more data," he says. "That is the direction in which we are going, although in the short haul over the next decade or so I don't think there is any reason to think the prices would stabilize."
(*Carnevale explains the methodology for measuring productivity: "We divide the output, the gross domestic product produced in healthcare by the number of people working. In healthcare the number of people are hiring faster than output is increasing. In the case of manufacturing, which is the highest productivity sector at the moment, you've got +8%, which means you are getting 8% more output with the same number of workers. In the case of healthcare, the workers are increasing but the output is going down slightly relative to the number of workers. The output per worker is going down, essentially.")