March 9th, 2010
06:41 PM ET

Cost of Senate health care bill

During debate Tuesday on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, expressed concerns about the cost of the health care bill. 

"The bill that the White House and its allies in Congress want to vote for would actually drive costs up," he said. "Overall health care spending would go up by more than $200 billion under [this] bill." 

Fact Check: Would the Senate health care bill increase overall health care spending?

- On January 8, Richard S. Foster, chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released an analysis of the estimated financial effects of the bill passed by the Senate in December, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This estimates that under the bill, the overall national health expenditure (NHE) would increase by $222 billion for calendar years 2010 through 2019.

- According to the analysis, the total cost of the coverage provisions would be about $882 billion from fiscal year 2010 until 2019, but the actual costs would be dependent on future health care trends.

- Foster estimates that total national health expenditures in the United States for 2010-2019 would increase by about 0.6 percent under the bill, saying, "The additional demand for health services could be difficult to meet initially with existing health provider resources and could lead to price increases, cost-shifting, and/or changes in providers' willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage."

- The report does not include potential savings regarding excise taxes and some fees on drugs and medical devices and other non-Medicare revenue, since that information is collected by the Department of the Treasury.

- The $222 billion would be added to a total 2010-2019 NHE increase that the CMS in June 2009 projected would be $35.3 trillion. 

Bottom Line:

McConnell is correct. According to the CMS, overall health care spending is estimated to increase by more than $200 billion over the next 10 years if the Senate bill is passed.

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Filed under: Fact Check • Health Care
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. David

    so what is the cost if we keep the status quo

    March 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pablo

    While i think it's great to want to help people get medical coverage, taxing everyone to pay for it is not the answer. I already lose nearly half of my monthly income to taxes and medical benefits costs. I pay into medicare / medicade and i cant even use it. They should fight the wadte, fraud and insuranse industry practices which are the leading cause of rising costs instead of just taxing everyone more.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Badgerfan4ever

    Will the President please get the message THIS HEALTH CARE BILL THAT IS PROPOSED WILL NOT WORK!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. cargo

    It seem that you don't get it. The insurance company have been getting free ride for so long, enough is enough is time for a change.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Army4Life

    We should not pay for those who have not worked hard to improve thier situation and sit around waiting for the government to take care of them. Work hard, get an education and be responsible for your own path are mantras that my parent taught me and have paid off for me.

    March 10, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. steve

    Hasn't anyone realized that the cost of a national health system will be offset by not having to buy your own insurance. Everyone that currently has insurance either is paying for it themselves or their employer is paying huge amounts for it.
    One of the reasons current cost are so high is that everyone with out insurance is in actuality also being covered by those with insurance in the higher fees Dr.'s and hospital must charge to cover those with out insurance. After all it is against the law for emergency rooms to turn any one away based on their ability to pay. And those with out insurance are far more likely to wait until their condition is an emergency to seek treatment. Not to mention the other abuses of the system such as ER visit for a cold.

    Most of the displaced insurance industry workers would still be needed to handle all the "paperwork" and they would already have experience in the field. The only ones I see this hurting are the top level executives who wont be able skim off their million dollar bonuses. Which is probably why the insurance companies are so much against it,

    March 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ebooggie

    The bottom line is we need to have a true government run health care alternative to the current system. The problem isn't just with health insurance companies, but the cost that Dr's and hospitals charge as well. If the people had another option that would force hospitals, Dr's and insurance companies to have to compete for your business. The fact that there is no competition means we pay whatever they say. And that's messed up!

    March 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ssmith

    Interesting comments, but how many of y'all have an FSA? That is sat for all actuarial exams, which take years to pass. My bets are on Richard Foster's report as I'm pretty sure Nancy Pelosi does not have her FSA either.

    March 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |