Jon Cohn over at The New Republic is reporting that, in early estimates, the Congressional Budget Office is finding that a robust public option, along the lines of the one recommended in the House health care bill, could save about $150 billion over 10 years–a notable chunk of the approximately $1 trillion Congress will need to finance an overhaul package.
Keep in mind, though, that the public option creates savings by driving down prices, and it can’t do that nearly as effectively if it’s prevented from setting below-market pay rates. But that’s exactly what conservative Democrats are trying to do. At the same time, those Democrats are demanding that health care legislation do a better job of lowering health care costs. And that’s just one of the contradictions inherent to the position of those attempting to scale back reform efforts.