Since the Affordable Care Act was signed in March 2010 and began to enroll many more Americans in coverage in 2014, many observers have asserted price inflation in health care has been moderate by historical standards. Such claims are misleading because many observers decline to differentiate between nominal and real inflation. In fact, prices for health-related goods and services have increased significantly.

The measurement of inflation most economists use to gauge the impact of price changes on ordinary people is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has been published for decades by the U.S. government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It measures prices facing consumers for all the goods and services we buy.