So much for easing back into the flow of things after a coupleof weeks at home painting rainbows, playing Candy Land and“drinking” way too much tea.

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This week's return to reality began with the latest affirmationthat health care spending in this country is slowing down. It's notearth-shattering news, but for the fourth straight year — and forthe entirety of the president's first term in office — overalleconomic growth outpaced the health care sector.

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The eggheads over at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicesrun these numbers annually, and apparently, they're sitting at10-year lows, with health care spending advancing 3.7 percent in2012.

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While we can all agree this is good news, the chorus loses someof its harmony when we discuss how we got here.

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The administration quickly stepped up to take credit,proclaiming Obamacare a success at reining in health care costs.And I guess the president can take credit, but only in the sensethat this prolonged recession — and recovery — are biggercontributors to slower health care spending than anything else.

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In fact, the number crunchers conclude the president's healthcare law probably contributed about 1 percent toward that growthrate since 2010.

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I would expect, much like the authors of this report, that nextyear's numbers will be dramatically different — and higher. We'llsee.

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Meanwhile, we have a Republican senator up in Wisconsin who'sfiled a lawsuit to stop the feds from paying subsidies for membersof Congress and their aides, who got dumped into the exchanges lastyear. (Whatever happened to tort reform?)

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Oddly, Sen. Ron Johnson claims, the subsidy amounts to specialtreatment, despite the fact that everyone gets it. Oh, and in caseyou were wondering, by most accounts Congressional aides earnsomewhere around $30,000 to $40,000 annually. Oh, and they work inD.C., a place that ranks in most top 10 lists for (high) cost ofliving.

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I'd be all for members of Congress not getting the subsidy,especially given what they earn, but why can't they leave the poorstaffers alone?

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Welcome back to work. And welcome to 2014, where things makeabout as much sense as they did last year.

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