While there is much agreement about the need for health care savings we also need to agree on how we define good health services and outcomes. CBO Director Elmendorf’s comment below needs our careful consideration:
"Even if successful, measures to reduce smoking and obesity—two factors linked to the development of chronic and acute health problems—might not have a substantial impact on health care spending for some time. In the long term, spending on diseases caused by poor health habits could decline substantially, but the impact on federal costs would also have to account for people living longer and receiving more in Medicare benefits (for the treatment of other diseases and age-related ailments) as well as other government benefits that are not directly related to health care (including Social Security benefits)."
--Douglas W. Elmendorf; Director, Congressional Budget Office
Testimony before the Senate Finance Committee
February 25, 2009