“On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.”
This carefully crafted phrase, just delivered in the State of the Union address, recently earned the president a Geppetto Checkmark. Obama wants us to compare the savings in 2022. Granted, that would be six years after Obama’s second term ends. But administration officials argue that changes in health-care policies take time to achieve budget savings, and that the right mix can produce greater savings in the long run.
Using Congressional Budget Office estimates of the president’s budget, we see that over 10 years, Obama’s proposals would achieve $337 billion from 2013 to 2022, compared to $483 billion for Bowles-Simpson in the same time period. (Bowles-Simpson, or more accurately the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, is considered by many in Washington to be the model for a bipartisan approach for deficit reduction.)
However, in 2022, both would achieve exactly the same amount of savings — $68 billion.
Administration officials say they believe their proposals would achieve greater savings than Bowles-Simpson after 2022, which would be consistent with the increase in savings toward the end of the first 10-year budget window.