From the NYTimes:
In speech after speech, Senator Barack Obama has vowed that he will lower the country’s health care costs enough to “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.” Moreover, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised that his health plan will be in place “by the end of my first term as president of the United States.”
Whether Mr. Obama can deliver is a matter of considerable dispute among health analysts and economists. While there is consensus that the American health care system is bloated with waste, eliminating enough to save $2,500 per family would require simultaneous and synergistic solutions to a host of problems that have proved intractable for decades.
The Commonwealth Fund, a health research group in New York, published a study in December projecting that a robust overhaul consisting of 15 broad initiatives would generate savings of only 6 percent after 10 years. “Doing it by the end of a first term is ambitious and would require tough policies,” said Karen Davis, the group’s president.
Jonathan B. Oberlander, who teaches health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called it wishful thinking. “Do they have the potential to generate significant savings in the long run?” Dr. Oberlander asked. “Yes. Do I believe they will produce substantial savings in the short run that can be used to finance Obama’s plan? No.”