Report compares reform estimates, finds huge savings

A report from the health reform-focused Commonwealth Fund compares costs over the next decade for numerous reform options, using estimates from the Office of Management and Budget (for the president’s reform proposal and stimulus), the Congressional Budget Office and a Commonwealth-commissioned Lewin Group report titled “The Path to a High Performance Health U.S. Health System.”

Estimates vary widely between the three efforts, with the Lewin Group (which has some ties to the insurance industry) generally giving the rosiest predictions. The federal reports generally focus exclusively on government savings, while the Lewin study often also lists the savings incurred by the system as a whole. The comparisons are particularly interesting, with some estimates looking remarkably divergent. For example, for a hospital pay-for-performance system, the OMB estimates a $12 billion savings, the CBO says $3 billion and the Lewin Group says the government will save $43 billion with the system as a whole saving $55 billion.

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