The good news is that the rate of growth in healthcare spending has slowed in 2017 to 3.9% per year, compared to a 4.8% jump in 2016. But we will still spent an astounding $3.5 Trillion on healthcare in 2017, according to new data released by CMS. The slowdown is not necessarily all great news. Let’s look under the numbers: why did growth slow? It was not because of decreases in prices: in fact prices continued to rise. Instead the slow down in growth was due to a decrease in utilization, especially of high cost, complex procedures. Some of this decreased utilization could be due to a topic we have discussed often: shifting the cost burden to patients through high deductible plans. These type of plans have a role. When structured correctly they can expose people to the value decision about the costs and benefits and risks of certain healthcare interventions. But the burden is growing: recently the CDC reported that “more than 40 percent of Americans were on high-deductible plans in 2017, compared to only 25 percent in 2010.” The bottomline is that healthcare costs continue to be a major source of stress directly on individual Americans and there is no magic bullet, or even coherent policy approach being seriously discussed today that would significantly address this burden.