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Efforts to cut health costs could take a decade to show results

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, February 26, 2009

Not only are healthcare costs growing, but a lot of the ideas to cut them may not result in savings for the federal government or the nation within a decade, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told the Senate Finance Committee. For example, disease management programs, "can improve health and may well be cost-effective," Elmendorf said. But the programs still might not result in overall spending reductions within 10 years because the number of the patients who participate is far larger than those who avoid expensive care as a result.