New York (CNNMoney.com) - The health care reform bill approved by the Senate on Thursday would do more than any proposal yet to reduce the deficit over time – by an estimated $132 billion over 10 years and by substantially more thereafter.
But reducing the deficit is not entirely synonymous with the oft-stated goal of health reform: reducing the growth rate in health care costs and expenditures – often referred to as "bending the cost curve."
That growth rate is what drives federal spending on Medicare and other federal health programs.
And it's what budget experts say will pummel the federal budget in future years if nothing is done to change it.
So how would the Senate bill fare in bending the cost curve from the perspective of the federal budget? The short answer is the ever-unsatisfying "it depends."