What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

130 Billion More Reasons to Vote for Health Care Reform

March 18, 2010, 6:17 PM

The numbers are in. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally released its much-anticipated estimate of how much of the amended version of the health care bill would cost today.  And it's great news for the Democrats.

According the CBO, the bill would cost $940 billion over ten years. That's a lot of money taken as a lump sum, but it probably amounts to just 2% of the yearly budget. And $94 billion a year doesn't seem that much when you consider that the Troubled Assets Relief Program cost $150 billion dollars last year alone. More significant is the fact that the CBO figures the bill will actually reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the same period at the same time as it expands health care coverage to 95% of Americans. That's because it will increase federal revenues more than expenditures. As Republicans will point out, it does that in part by creating new taxes. Nevertheless, the fact that in addition to reforming the health care system it doubles as a huge deficit reduction program takes away one of the Republicans' key arguments against the bill. To top it all off, the CBO says the bill would slow the growth in Medicare spending by 1.4% annually, helping keep Medicare solvent for at least 9 more years.

That bodes well for the passage of the bill. The price of the Obamacare futures jumped on Intrade on the news, with traders now giving the bill a 77% chance of passing. Not only does expanding health care and reducing the deficit appealing on its face, the new numbers make it difficult for Democrats who were on the fence to vote against the bill. As Ezra Klein puts it, liberal Democrats would be voting against

Legislation that covers 32 million people. A world in which 95 percent of all non-elderly, legal residents have health-care coverage. An end to insurers rescinding coverage for the sick, or discriminating based on preexisting conditions, or spending 30 cents of each premium dollar on things that aren't medical care. Exchanges where insurers who want to jack up premiums will have to publicly explain their reason, where regulators will be able to toss them out based on bad behavior, and where consumers will be able to publicly rate them. Hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to help lower-income Americans afford health-care insurance. The final closure of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit's "doughnut hole."

For conservative Democrats, meanwhile, opposing the bill would mean voting against "the single most ambitious effort the government has ever made to control costs in the health-care sector." As Klein says, health coverage is wider in the fixed bill than in the original Senate bill, and it does more to reduce the deficit. Both liberals and conservatives can say they've gotten what they wanted.


130 Billion More Reasons to...

Newsletter: Share: