The Director of the CBO believes we can't at least not in the context of the spending involved in the health care bill. The administration's purposed health care re-do seems to go like this. Since the country will ultimately go broke if we continue top spend more and more on health care cost must be contained. This is expressed in the jaunty jargon of health care policy wonks as "bending the health care cost curve". To bend this curve the administration is recommending that we spend more on health care by making sure that all (well almost all) of everyone in the county have health care insurance. So how will this keep the country from going bankrupt?
Simple we will rely on the magic three: comparative effectiveness research (cer),prevention and use of electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Actually that appeard to be the gist of the original taking points points more recently there are varous tax increase proposals being formulated. Combining providing care for almost all with these three ( plus some as yet undecided upon package of increased taxes) will bring about a "budget neutral " economic miracle.Everyone (almost) will have health care and it won't cost anymore and the quality will be better and by not relentlessly increasing health care cost we will save the country from bankruptcy. QED.
Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office testified before Congress and reminded everyone that the notion of there-is-no-such-thing-as-a free-lunch may still apply. He said in part:
".. bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose "the sort of fundamental changes" necessary to rein in the skyrocketing cost of government health programs, particularly Medicare. On the contrary, Elmendorf said, the measures would pile on an expensive new program to cover the uninsured. (Quote is taken from this Washington Post article and the bolding is mine.)