Democrats' "Cost Savings" M.I.A. in Health Care Proposals

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Posted: Jul 16, 2009 2:50 PM
One of the arguments made by supporters of the Democrats' sweeping health reform plan is that it would save the federal government money in the long run by containing costs.  However, according to Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this may not be the case.

During a Senate Budget Committee hearing today, Elmendorf reported that the CBO does not see health care cost savings in the Democrats' health care bills: 
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND): Dr. Elmendorf, I am going to really put you on the spot because we are in the middle of this health care debate, but it is critically important that we get this right. Everyone has said, virtually everyone, that bending the cost curve over time is critically important and one of the key goals of this entire effort. From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?

Elmendorf: No, Mr. Chairman.  In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.  And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.
Full story available here.