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A Welcome Let-Up In Health Costs That May Not Last

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File photo of a doctor's stethoscope.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a doctor’s stethoscope. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s some good news about health care.

Americans’ spending on medical goods and services isn’t rising as quickly. Two of the past three years have seen the slowest growth on record.

But will it last?

One group of experts says the slowdown is temporary, the result of the recession and an economy that can’t seem to hit its stride. A more hopeful view says American medicine is changing to teamwork models aimed at keeping patients healthier — a permanent benefit.

It’s not a stretch to say health care’s future is riding on the answer.

If the system can reform from within to reduce waste, it could stave off sharp cuts to hospitals and doctors, as well as more cost shifts to patients.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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