These days, we spend a bit more than 17 percent of our GDP on health care. That comes out to more than $2.5 trillion. If we'd reformed the system in 1995, and our spending had slowed by 1.5 percentage points then, health care would only be 14.2 percent of GDP right now. If we'd followed Carter's schedule and moved in 1980, we'd be down to 11.5 percent of GDP. And Nixon's plan in 1975? A mere 10.75 percent of GDP, which as you can see on the graph, isn't that far from what Europe spends. The lesson is simple: The earlier you start, the more you save. And with each opportunity you miss, you lose years of accumulated savings.