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CBO identifies targets for health spending cuts

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Trimming the group health deduction would be an easy way to cut federal spending by about $24 billion to $50 billion per year for 10 years.

Capping federal spending on Medicaid — the state-federal health program for poor people and for nursing home residents — could save about $10 billion to $60 billion per year, and adding an inexpensive “public plan” to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchanges could save about $16 billion per year.

Converting Medicare to a flat-rate “voucher system,” or defined contribution system, and increasing premiums for the Medicare Part B physician services plan and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans could save about $30 billion to about $56 billion per year.

Noelia Duchovny, an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), has included those choices on a list of 16 options that Congress could use to reduce federal health care spending.

Duchovny came up with the list by pulling the health-related options from a long CBO report on many different choices for cutting the federal budget deficit.

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