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.

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Filed under: Health care reform • Politics
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. curtis

    This health care bill will break America. How can you add 30 million people and say your going to save money. As a parent the more kids I had the more it cost. Common sense doesn't work with politicians. Both parties are both corrupt.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    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.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mars

    Sorry, Jason: you repeat the same falsehoods as were used during the lie filled and dishonest debate in Congress: the vast majority of people in ER's HAVE insurance. The perception that they are the places of last resort is simply not true.
    There won't be any balance; there won't be any savings.
    It was simply a power grab and it won't solve any thing except to make you beholden to the party in power for your healthcare.

    I hope it is overturned and repealed in its entirely.

    May 12, 2010 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    The GD pigs enable this swill.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sensible

    There is no logical reason why the ER room cannot be adjacent to a hospital clinic to accommodate those with no insurance. It would be effective and less expensive for those who are uninsured. Walgreens, CVS and Walmart all have thriving clinics for those who need them. So why can't our hospitals do the same? Greed, politics, bonehead laws and other corrupt reasons designed to keep everything the status quo. Low cost clinics at hospital locations are a simple solution for non-emergency situations. Duh!

    May 12, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. FERV888


    May 12, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. MeinNM

    If you think people using ER's is the problem now, what will happen when there are 30 million more people who are covered with insurance? Do you realize how hard it is to get a primary care doctor for someone who currently has insurance? You have to call at 8 a.m. on the first of the month and every month you get the same response "sorry we have no more openings please call again next month". Just wait until there are 30 million more people with insurance. The ER's and Urgent Care centers in this country will be over run. Instead of waiting 3 – 4 hours to be seen we'll be looking at 12 hour waits becaus there are not enough doctors and many will be retiring early due to this bill.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cold Hard Truth

    Looks like the dissenters were correct, that the CBO numbers were either cooked to prop up obama care or just under estimated. In any event, this one area is just the start to what will be more 'corrections' revealing the massive spending, taxes, and increased health care costs that were predicted.

    Here's the thing that really shows how phony the bill is, all the sad cases that were put on display and horror stories that were told to justify obama care STILL exist. Why wait 4 years to make th enew bill go into full effect?

    I know the answer, do you?

    May 12, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    So you put nearly a trillion dollars in the hands of the government . They are known to take in a dollar and waste 80% on it's bureaucracy . The bill still needs a trillion dollars to operate. Subtract 80% of a trillion and you have a shortfall of 800,000 billion dollars. Mark my words before it is all said and done that will be the corrected CBO score for this Ponzi scheme of the Obama democrats. When is America going to wake up. You only have to look to Greece to see America's future. .

    May 12, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mitch

    I am sorry, too, Jason. What evidence do you have to support your arguement? How much of the healthcare dollar goes to uninsured ER visits? ObamaCare puts 30 million more people into the healthcare system and demands that taxpayers subsidize the insurance premium yet you think this will save money? You say that we need to train and license more healthcare providers (not doctors, I caught that) yet this will save money? Where did you take your economics training? Just because our politicians tell you something that sounds good to you (ie. only the rich will pay) doesn't mean that it is true. I suspect that you know this healthcare bill is a big lie.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. steve5150

    So the Obama thugs falsified testimony in a congresional hearing. That damned George Bush!

    May 12, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. xJonx

    >> 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

    AHHH, you found the solution, ignored it, and then used that ignorance to bolster your flawed argument.

    The SOLUTION you ignored is not to GIVE medical services except to those who are paying (cash or insurance), or in cases of obvious life and death.

    Because insurance companies would ONLY have to pay for their clients' treatments, the cost of insurance would plummet, and more people would be able to afford insurance. Combine that with common sense messures such as cross state line sales of insurance, and the problem is largely solved ... without the governments intrusion into our lives.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |


    May 12, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Guy

    It's what we voted for, isn't it? Too late to change anything now. After all, our system of democracy allows for majority rule, and the majority always comes up with the best answer, doesn't it?

    May 12, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. MacCane

    Now you believe, do you , CNN?

    May 12, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
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