Congressional Budget Office Throws Down the Gauntlet

The Congressional Budget Office put out a 200-page tome on evaluating competing health care plans. Some critical conclusions from this report:

*  No simple solutions are available to reduce the level or control the growth of health care costs. Steps to restructure the insurance market and to encourage people to purchase less extensive coverage could reduce the use of treatments that provide minimal benefits, but enrollees would face higher cost sharing or tighter management of their care
* Other approaches—such as the wider adoption of health information technology or greater use of
preventive medical care—could improve people’s health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary time frame
* In many cases, the current health care system does notgive doctors, hospitals, and other providers of health care incentives to control costs. Significantly reducing the level or slowing the growth of health care spending require substantial changes in those incentives

This report helps frame the difficulty of the task ahead for Tom Daschle and the Obama administration.