If you recall, the CBO scored the Kennedy-Dodd HELP version of healthcare reform legislation with many of the important details left out, including the public option. Consequently, the cost ended up being over $1 trillion.
Now they've finally had a chance to evaluate the plan with the public option included and the results are much more positive.
The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion, and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. [...]
The [employer mandate] provision is also estimated to greatly reduce the number of workers whose employers would drop coverage, thus addressing a major concern noted by CBO when it reviewed the earlier proposals.
The $600 billion price tag is covered under the president's "down payment" he outlined in his budget. With additional savings, it appears (at a glance) that if everything goes according to plan, the public option and healthcare reform could actually run a surplus.