May 11th, 2010
09:24 PM ET

CBO doubles some health care spending estimates

The Congressional Budget Office has doubled the estimated increases of some costs resulting from the sweeping health care reform legislation passed this year.

A CBO report sent Tuesday to Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said the estimated rise in discretionary spending - which is spending requiring annual congressional authorization - over the first 10 years under the new legislation could exceed $115 billion.

On March 11, exactly two months earlier, the non-partisan CBO reported the estimated increase for discretionary spending could exceed $55 billion.

Douglas Elmendorf, the CBO director, said the latest report "updates and expands" on the previous report. He noted that assessing effects on discretionary spending was speculative because such appropriations require congressional action, and could be larger or smaller than initially anticipated.

The health care legislation was estimated by CBO to cost $940 billion over 10 years and reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over the same period.

Increased costs in discretionary spending would not necessarily offset the estimated deficit reduction. Congress requires most discretionary spending to have available resources under so-called "pay to go" rules.

According to the CBO report, the estimated higher costs would come from increased administrative expenses for the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Health and Human Services, as well as grants and other programs contained in the health care bill.

In a letter to Lewis, Elmendorf said some of the increased cost estimates in the May report included extensions of existing spending authorizations not included in the March report, as well as future discretionary spending for initially mandatory grants.

Spending for some specific programs not included in the March report, such as provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Reauthorization and Extension Act and the National Health Services Corp., also are in the May report, according to Elmendorf.

Post by:
Filed under: Health care reform • Politics
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Ron OHIO

    How much do those 30 million without insurance cost us today? They are getting services anyway and at a higher cost than if they were on some type of insurance. The cost to insure is less than the cost to not insure. I would rather treat the flu in the doctors office than pneumonia in the ER. I am sure it will cost us more in direct taxes, but I suspect the rapid acceleration of healthcare costs will decrease as the system attains a more balanced state. Using the right services at the right cost rather than expensive emergency services is one way this is likely to work. The bigger issue is in restructuring education and licensing practices to create more healthcare providers.

    Posted by: Jason

    Jason: So having us tax payers buy a policy for everyone will save us money? If an avg. policy pays out 65-70% of the cost of the medical services who pays the remainder, the deductables, the co-pays? Yes, Jason we taxpayers have to pay the premiums and all the other related cost for those who will never have to pay a cent out of their pockets. Just like now! So how is putting the burden on insurance companies and taxpayers going to change anything when the TRUE cost of this bill will never be known for a decade of increase like this $115B today. How much more will the CBO come up with as the bill begins to take effect? When companies begin to dump their employer sponsored plans forcing employees onto government run plans will the insurance companies benefit or will you. Take a look at Greece as a small example of our larger problem.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BEZ

    wow so many falsehoods in these comments.

    1. "Anyone that thinks poor people didn't have access to health care obviously doesn't understand Medicaid."

    you have to make less than about 13k a year to qualify for medicaid. that means if you work full-time for minimum wage, you already make too much to get medicaid.

    2. "Let's do a little math before we speak. Rates will not plummet under your argument. 300 million Americans, of which 30 million are uninsured (10%). If the uninsured population uses health care roughly as frequently as the insured, then they are only increasing premiums by 10%, the amount by which insurance will fall if they had insurance."

    more people being insured (more customers) increases the insurance companies' revenues. with increased revenues companies can charge less in premiums, which they will do in order to compete with other companies and attract customers.

    3. "As one the uninsured, the truth is I cost nothing to anyone, I pay my way.
    I pay for all health care out of my pocket."

    so false. if you get hit by a car and go to the emergency room, your bills could end up at tens of thousands of dollars to save your life. you're gonna pay that out of pocket? no, the hospital will pay the expense of saving your life. you'll be bankrupt and maybe still injured, and the hospital will never have been paid for the service provided to you. that cost is then transferred to everyone else in the form of higher bills.

    4. "If an avg. policy pays out 65-70% of the cost of the medical services who pays the remainder, the deductables, the co-pays? Yes, Jason we taxpayers have to pay the premiums and all the other related cost for those who will never have to pay a cent out of their pockets. "

    false, the average policy doesn't pay out 65%-70% of the cost of service. my insurance is like $500 a month. I am not using $500 worth of medical service in a month. that's where the remainder comes from. its worth it for me to do this, even if I don't utilize the whole cost of the premium myself, because if I ever get in a car accident, I'll be glad I have it. that's just how insurance works.

    that's why if there are more people paying into the insurance pool, premiums go down.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mrsb

    Those in Congress who voted for this knew that the "deficit reduction" line was complete b.s. They just wanted to pass "historic legislation" and did not care to actually look into health care COST reductions, which this bill will not do. In the end, I believe much of this bill will not be able to be funded and Congress will issue tons of apologies and promise to fund it when they can. All we will end up getting is the mandates for individuals and businesses to have or provide "affordable" insurance and mandates for insurance companies to cover everyone without passing the increased cost to the individual – thus leaving us all with higher insurance premiums and in many cases higher state taxes as they take on the increased burden of covering more people on Medicare/Medicaid.

    November can't come soon enough.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Che

    "that's why if there are more people paying into the insurance pool, premiums go down".

    – right BEZ, because Mcare is sooo working for us. everything else equals, unless fraud is dealt with, your utopian "insurance pool" (ie; socialilzed medicine") wil continue to be insolvent. Truth is, BO's HRC bill did absolutely nothing to shift the cost curve of medical services. Keep in mind that cost and price are two very different things.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bryan Smith

    When the Bush administration deceived the nation there was outcry and demands of impeachment. Where is the outcry? Why does a left wing liar get a free pass?

    May 14, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom Mooney

    The last post before this was May 14, 2010. Why is this item still being posted?

    February 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Keeping it Real

    The more we hear about the costs of Obamacare, the worse it gets!

    March 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. free coupons online

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5