White House Report Says Health Reform Will Cut Cost Growth

The New York Times: The chair of the White House Council of Economics Advisers said Monday that the Senate health care reform bill would slow the grown of spending by 1 percent each year. "I want to tell you that what's going on on the floor of the Senate right now is probably the most important thing we can do for the long run fiscal health of this country," said Christina Romer, according to the Times. Her assertion comes from a report released Monday that said that while short terms costs would increase, both government and the private sector would save money in the long term if the Senate's bill was enacted (Stolberg, 12/14).

Bloomberg: "Republicans questioned the accuracy of the Romer's projections, pointing to a previous council declaration that U.S. unemployment would stay at less than 8 percent if Congress passed economic stimulus legislation, which it did in February. Unemployment dropped to 10 percent in November from 10.2 percent in October" (Gaouette, 12/14).

ModernHealthcare: "Romer cited provisions that would lead to bundled payments, accountable-care organizations and an independent Medicare advisory board as cost-reduction leaders on the public side." In addition, insurance exchanges, administration simplification and a so-called "Cadillac" tax would help save money by changing the system for private insurers (DoBias, 12/14).

The Washington Post: The calculations "confirm that total spending on health care initially would increase under the Senate bill, as more than 30 million additional Americans obtain coverage, either through newly regulated private insurance markets or through Medicaid, the government health program for the poor. But (Romer) argued in a conference call with reporters that other provisions in the legislation … would push the cost of care down, saving the government and individuals money 'over an extended horizon'" (Montgomery, 12/14).

The Hill: "The bill's effects on both employment and unemployment, 'at first approximation, should be zero,' Romer said, adding that the new rules in the bill would free up individuals' and business' resources to reinvest in the economy. 'That means that GDP can be higher,' she said" (O'Brien, 12/14).

The Washington Times: "The report found that if health spending falls, the nation's gross domestic product would be 4 percent higher by 2013 and the average family's income would increase by nearly $7,000 over the same period" (Haberkorn, 12/14).

CongressDaily: The report "estimates that national healthcare spending will drop by 0.5 percent under the Senate's overhaul bill, a rosier projection than the 0.7 percent increase estimated Friday by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" (12/14).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.