The U.S. could save between $1.2 trillion and $3 trillion over 11 years and achieve near-universal coverage under three broad reform proposals now being considered in Congress, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund.
The largest savings of $3 trillion could occur under the reform approach that includes a public health insurance plan option to compete with private insurers, paying providers at Medicare rates. A savings of $2 trillion could occur if there were a public plan, plus provider payments midway between Medicare rate reimbursements and private plan rates. And the nation would save $1.2 trillion in a scenario where there is no public plan, just private insurers, according to the report.
The cumulative net federal costs over the 11 years under the private-plan-only scenario would be $360 billion, three times higher than the other two scenarios. All three options include other changes, including payment reform and federal subsidies to make coverage affordable. The estimates were devised by the Lewin Group.
Karen Davis, president of Commonwealth Fund, said the report looked at overall costs to the total nation, including employers, families and providers, not just federal budget impact.