Affordable, quality health care. For everyone.

Why Health Reform Will Bend the Cost Curve


The health reform bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and under consideration in the Senate introduce a range of payment and delivery system changes designed to achieve a significant slowing of health care cost growth. Most assessments of health reform legislation have focused only on the federal budgetary impact. This study projects the effect of national reform on total national health expenditures and the insurance premiums that American families would likely pay. We estimate that the combination of provisions in the House and Senate bills would save $683 billion or more in national health spending over the 10-year period 2010–2019 and lower premiums by nearly $2,000 per family. Moreover, the annual growth rate in national health expenditures could be slowed from 6.4 percent to 6.0 percent.

Publication Details

Publication Date: December 7, 2009

D. M. Cutler, K. Davis, and K. Stremikis, Why Health Reform Will Bend the Cost Curve, Center for American Progress and The Commonwealth Fund, December 2009.


David Cutler
Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Professor Emerita in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director, Market Analysis and Insight, California Health Care Foundation