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. randro


    May 12, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. xJonx

    >> ... tell you something that sounds good to you (ie. only the rich will pay) doesn't mean ...

    To further support Mitch's argument: ALL taxes are ultimately paid for by the middle class. If you raise taxes on yachts, then somewhere in the yacht building chain, a couple of middle class workers are going to loose their jobs, or maybe the benefits willl be reduced. But there is NO such thing as 'only the rich will pay'.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    The so-called deficit reduction piece of the bill is a sham IMO and even if it does help the budget deficit some in the first 10 yrs, it explodes after that. The national debt will continue to skyrocket. Anyone who can't see that paying for 10 years for 6 years of a service at the beginning is willfully blind. What happens when you must pay for it every year? America is divided because politicians put party loyalty over the country.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Adam_ME

    What?! You mean Obamacare ISN'T deficit-neutral? You mean businesses will drop coverage for their employees in favor of paying a fine? You mean the cost of premiums will rise? Gee, why wasn't anyone out there saying this when the bill was being debated? Oh right, we were.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    The figure of just 20% of ER visitors did NOT have insurance comes from (among other sources) the U.S. government's HHS:

    The flip side... 80% of ER patients HAVE insurance, though for many that is the not so good Medicare/caid.

    And of the people who use the ER the most, "frequent fliers", 85% have insurance.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Corruptible Budget Office?

    I think you got the name wrong in the headline.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cogito

    It is purely academic. We are already bankrupt. On tax day, April 15, we had a National Debt of $12.83 trillion dollars. The Whiite House has committed us to an additional $9.7 trillion. The Trustees for Social Security and Medicare report these programs have an 'unfunded liability' of $107.00 trillion dollars. That is a total of $129.53 trillion dollars of real debt. That is a debt-to-gdp ration of 875%. (Greece's debt ratio is only 113% and the EU is being pulled under by it).

    Government can not make money, they can only take it form those who earn it. The debt equates to $409,094 for every American. It is unfair and unchristian to burden our children and grand children with such debt. They will be economic slaves to the Federal government unless we stop them now. As Obama has stated. "We are just getting started."

    The Obama administration seek unlimited, absolute power, and in attaining it is destroying the American Dream for generations to come.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Robert

    Daaaaaaaaa! Repeal

    May 12, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Idiots in congress...


    You're sadly mistaken. The middle class and lower class both have the lowest tax burden of any. For the lower class, there is no tax burden. For the middle class, reports for 2009 show that less than 50% of the middle class paid in any FIT. That is, though they contributed tax dollars from their paychecks throughout the year, all of the money was returned to them with their tax refund through STANDARD deductions and STANDARD tax credits. Some people literally turned a profit off the tax system through STANDARD deductions and STANDARD tax credits. They didn't have to itemize purchases, charitable donations, tuition/books/interest on student loans, etc. in order to get a 100% refund of any and all dollars contributed towards federal income tax. They didn't have pay some CPA firm a couple grand to file a return that got them all their money back. All they had to do was buy TurboTax or go to H&R block and pay 40 bucks, and they got all their contributed tax dollars back. I'm not talking about a guy that had $4000 withheld over the year getting a $800 refund. Research has shown that 46% of all people earning $50000 or less a year got all $4000 they had withheld retuned to them by the iRS, and for some got more than four grand back.

    Anyone that thinks the tax burden falls on the shoulders of the middle class doesn't understand the tax code or the application of tax law. Anyone that thinks poor people didn't have access to health care obviously doesn't understand Medicaid. Obama wants to talk about healthcare reform, maybe he could tell us what steps he's taken to shut down the $8 billion a year Medicare fraud problem. What's that you say? Oh, that's right, HCR drastically slashes Medicare benefits.....because to save a person, rather than amputate an infected foot, you cut out his heart....that makes a ton of sense

    May 12, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Smokehouse

    How much damage will be done, before something is done?
    What a terrible experiment, the election of B. H. Obama.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    Here we go! AS ALWAYS with our POLITICIANS ALL – And why, when government BUDGET numbers change and are initially released to the public for our "pseudo consent," do they ALWAYS grow SIGNIFICANTLY ... AFTERWARD? This is just ANOTHER scam for the American Citizenry to swallow (or vomit) for (on) our future. OUR future is uncertain... our children's too... do you think our "politicians" will have ANY financial worries during their or their prodigies lifetimes? Our $13,000,000,000,000 debt payments are ever more pushed till later... while they only pay the minimum balance, and on top of that... slowly make more purchase. THIS HAS TO STOP!

    May 12, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. brian O

    Please please please, someone explain to me how a gov't takeover of ANY industry is going to reduce the deficit by 14 billion a year?? No one is taking the administration to task on this.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rob

    It's a power grab – nothing more. This isn't meant to improve healthcare. Look at all the pieces of the puzzle. They now own banks, college loans, car companies, and healthcare. They are about to take over the energy sector with cap and trade. They want to make the internet a public utility, which means they will control the content. This week BHO revealed that in his speech at the college. The 'Regulatory Czar' just stated that the goverment should place spies to infiltrate blog groups, tea parties, and any other groups that do not agree with the administration. We now have a new Supreme Court nominee that said 90 days ago, "We should be able to detain anyone suspected of funding terrorism and detain them indefinately without trial, regardless of where they were captured". Now, as a person who attends TEA parties, I have been called a terrorist, Nazi, and Timothy McVeigh wanna be. LOOK what has happened. If you disagree with the administration, we will find you (spy), squeeze you, (healthcare, loans, cars, utilities), and if you don't conform we will arrest you (Kagan). Go ahead and call me a whack job conspiracy theorists, but I DO NOT TRUST THEM!!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. morphy699

    So after Low-balling the costs to help Obamacare pass, NOW the CBO will slowly leak out the real, much higher costs to middle class taxpayers!! The 50% of households that actually PAY taxes.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. nomad

    surprise the pols lied to us any one that pays attention and used common sence new they were lieing we have very bad people in power remember in november... also most of the costs in the ER are from non citizens gaming the systen... wake up people PLEASE

    May 12, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
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