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    Health Care Reform:

    Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

    Voter Guide: Costs

    The issue:

    The United States spends $3 trillion on health care each year, and costs are expected to continue rising. Getting health care spending under control is critical to the health of the U.S. economy. Here are some options that try to do that.

    Proposals:

    The Affordable Care Act, which will extend insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. New taxes and program savings are expected to offset that spending and reduce the deficit by $109 billion over the same 10 year period.

    Cost-Cutting Plans

    The health reform law aims to slow health care spending in a number of ways, including:

    • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) - Under these new organizations within Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will financially reward doctors and hospitals that partner to deliver more coordinated, higher-quality care at lower costs.
    • Value-based purchasing -- a Medicare program that reimburses hospitals based on the cost and quality of care they deliver, rather than the volume of care they provide.
    • The law gives the government greater authority to identify and prosecute for costly fraud and abuse.

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