Obama: 'There's No Quick Fix, There's No Silver Bullet'

Sebelius said there would be a transparent system so that the administration could monitor whether the industry is really keeping its end of the bargain, but she did not provide details on how that would be monitored.

Later today, Sebelius will hold a news conference with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and others to discuss a new report on Social Security and Medicare.

Health Care Reform Possible?

Reaction to the administration's health care reform agenda in the industry and on Capitol Hill has been mixed.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., probably the president's biggest supporter on health care issues in the Senate, lauded the president's efforts.

"The president knows it's time to act and is providing impressive leadership. Members of Congress from both parties and leaders of the insurance industry know that the time has come to reduce costs and expand access to quality health care for all," he said. "The American people are right to call on Congress and the administration to delay no longer in easing the heavy burden of ever-increasing health costs that crush the budgets of families and businesses alike."

Others were more skeptical.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and a chief Republican negotiator trying to figure out how to pay for health care reform, said in a statement that the idea of the White House and the insurance industry saving $2 trillion is a great one, but he'll believe it when he sees a nonpartisan score from the Congressional Budget Office.

"For health care budgeting purposes, CBO's word is the only one that counts," he said in the statement.

A senior administration official had made it clear Sunday that the CBO does not analyze the impact on national health expenditures.

"I would not anticipate that CBO will be 'scoring' the statement or the event that is occurring tomorrow, in part because CBO traditionally does not evaluate or does not score impacts on national health expenditures, but as you look out over a long period of time, the impact on national health expenditures is absolutely crucial to achieving long-term fiscal savings for the federal government itself, because, again, if not, it's not a sustainable system," the administration official said.

Others doubt any substantial measures will come out of the meeting.

"I am convinced that the people who sat around that table and the president himself sincerely believe this was a good plan, and yet I kind of have a feeling it was Kabuki theater," said Uwe Reinhard, a professor of political economy at Princeton University. "One should be careful not to promise too much."

"People in Washington imagine they can fabricate wholesale attacks on health care costs. They have failed for decades," said Alan Sager, director of the health reform program and the master's program in health policy and management at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Why should we expect them to do better this time?"

How Will Savings Be Achieved?

The pledged reduction of 1.5 percent in costs will not stop health care prices from rising, but the White House budget director said the plan, if enacted, will make the system sustainable.

"By the end of 10 years, health care would be 20 percent of the economy," Peter Orszag said. "This kind of change could reduce that by 3 percent of the economy. That's $700 billion in one year alone."

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