Orszag has frequently cited a study from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice that explored why the same health care coverage could cost up to three times more in one part of the country than in another, with no better results.
"I think the most important lesson of our work is that we do not need to spend more to get better health or health care. We can actually spend less and get better care and better health. That's the surprise," said principal investigator of the Dartmouth Atlas Project.
Although details have yet to be fleshed out, health care groups and administration officials said cost savings would be achieved by making the system more efficient, which would entail consolidating bills and filling out fewer forms, using new technology for less costly procedures and giving incentives to health care providers based on results, not the number of tests or hospital stays.
"Much of health care spending, probably 30 percent of it, is devoted to unnecessary stays in the hospital, unnecessary diagnostic tests, unnecessary referrals to specialists or more frequent visits then patients need," Fisher said.
According to David Dranove, professor of health industry management and director of the health enterprise management program at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, the only way to effectively reduce the cost of health care over the next 10 years is to create a policy of cost control that holds the health care providers as allies.
"Cost control has also failed, because it hasn't enlisted doctors as allies. Instead, they've been squeezed on fees, manipulated, marginalized or simply ignored," Sager said. "If doctors support careful spending combined with health care coverage for all, this builds political support. ... It's the political equivalent of a policy that pulls itself up by its own bootstraps."
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Roger Sergel contributed to this report.