Most of us are familiar with the widely used data that shows health care spending as a share of GDP. It tells a scary store that dominates the political debates in Washington and that everyone is concerned about.

Looked at this way health care spending clearly looks like the monster that ate Tokyo.

But the lesson one learns from a ratio chart like this depends on what is happening to both the denominator and the numerator.

If you look at the growth in health care spending in isolation the data creates a very different impression.

This data shows that in recent years the growth in health care spending has actually been slowing significantly. It shows that maybe the real problem is the weak economy, not rapidly growing health care spending.