Real Cost of ObamaCare: $4 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday that the health care legislation put up by Senate Democrats would increase the national deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, while still leaving about 30 million — with an “m” — Americans uninsure. The announcement shocked even those who favor such legislation.

But as if that statistic wasn’t horrible enough, Senate sources for the Associated Press report today that the true cost would be about $1.6 trillion.

Senate sources say the latest cost estimates for health care legislation are around $1.6 trillion over 10 years. Two Senate staffers, one Democratic and one Republican, said Congressional Budget Office estimates put the cost of the Finance Committee version of the bill at around $1.6 trillion.

How bad has the heat gotten since then? Uncle Teddy was thrown under the bus by Barack Obama today. Despite working hard to rally support for health care reform measures currently in Congress, the White House says Obama is distancing himself from the bill:

“This is not the Administration’s bill,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement following the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s health care reform legislation, “and it’s not even the final Senate Committee bill.”

Both statements are true, though it’s not clear who, if anyone, had been saying that the legislation drafted by the powerful chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee constituted President Obama’s bill. Kennedy is but one of several legislators taking a crack and drafting legislation that will proceed through the legislative meat grinder and result in a bill that President Obama will sign. In reality, there is no actual “Administration” bill.

But wait. It gets worse. Apparently the CBO projection doesn’t include all of the costs in the bill and the Medicaid expansion. What’s the total cost after all of that? Phillip Klein:

For instance, because it was only working with a draft of the bill that had holes in it, the CBO did not estimate the costs associated with increasing Medicaid elgibility to 150 percent of the poverty level, or the full cost of providing subsidies to individuals with incomes at up to 500 percent of the poverty level to purchase insurance through state-run exchanges. Once this is taken into account, liberals are right that the final CBO estimate will reflect more people being insured, but the cost of the legislation will go up as well.

Health Systems Innovations Network, a consulting group, went ahead and estimated the full cost of a bill that included the subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and reduced the number of uninsured by 99 percent. With these assumptions, they estimated (pdf) the cost at a staggering $4 trillion over 10 years, resulting in the shift of 79 million Americans to government-run health care. The report does not include possible tax increases or spending offsets, but notes that, “this would be a challenging proposal to finance with budget neutrality.

Four. Trillion. Dollars. The entire federal budget for fiscal year 2008 was $2.97 trillion.  We’re talking of an average increase of $400 billion per year…for the next decade. Good Lord.

More: Michelle Malkin.


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