Actually, estimating the possible savings is the easy part, compared with overcoming the frantic conservative resistance. Here are the facts: U.S. health care costs a little over $2.5 trillion annually. But not all of those expenditures are needed, nor do they all improve outcomes. Considering the entirety of health spending — premiums, deductions, copays, taxes and tax breaks for some that increase everyone's taxes — we could save over $700 billion per year without hurting health outcomes, according to the Institute of Medicine. A study by Dr. Gerald Friedman of University of Massachusetts at Amherst puts the potential savings at $592 billion annually. These studies take different starting points, but many other analyses bear these figures out and often add to those calculated potential savings.