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. L Bowser


    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.
    I'm not saying I agree with the health care bill, but gross claims of affordability by making everyone pay are overexagerated. If you want to know why medical care is so expensive, look at technology. 50 years ago, ifyou had a heart attack it was a death sentence. Today, most people know someone who has had at least one heart attack. Further, how many people have avoided heart attack with life-saving stents?
    Health insurance is always increasing in expense, because we demand an ever increasing standard of medical care. So when will medical costs in this country stop going up? Simple. When we decide it's not worth it to us. We haven't gotten there yet. I'm not sure what that says about us though.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jim in Houston

    And a new poll by Fox News just showed 41% of the morons still would vote for Obozo in 2012! We are in deep trouble in this country and too stupid to realize it.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. shepp45

    You dumb voters allowed him to pass it. You all made fun of the Republicans for crying it is going to cost more. You all said they were evil because they wanted to keep poor people from having health care. But wait they were right and you were wrong! So question America what you going to do now?

    May 12, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. CompletePete

    CBO scores generally fall somewhere in the range of somewhat useful to all but meaningless. The CBO can only score based on the information they are provided by Congress. Be crafty enough in creating the legislation and you can make the CBO score say whatever you want.

    For instance: The Obamacare score largely comes up as deficit reducing over 10-years because Congress told the CBO they will impose a 40% excise tax (the so-called Cadillac tax) on premium insurance plans beginning in 2018.

    The CBO was obligated to score the legislation based on the premise that some future president and some future Congress is going to have the political will to actually go after generous union insurance plans.

    If democrats ultimately fight to exempt the unions from such a tax, the CBO score is completely blown out of the water, resulting in a very negative impact on the deficit.

    The other complete fiction in Obamacare is that the states can fund their portion of Medicaid. Many of the additional 30 million insured will be covered through Medicaid. The federal government only picks up 57% of that tab and the states pick-up the rest.

    Perhaps you've noticed...many states are broke. When the states can't pay their portion, who will they turn to? The federal government of course...again blowing the CBO score out of the water.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Richard

    Well the obama lackies strike again, but we had to according to pelosi,PASS THE BILL SO WE COULD KNOW WHAT IS IN IT !!!. ow the CBO doubles the cost !!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. paarl

    thieves..theives..tramps and thieves


    May 12, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. jlfonz

    There is no such thing as a "low cost clinic" Why? Lawyers and their lawsuits–primarily the threat of lawsuits and the less costly out of court settlements that are essentially extortion payments.

    BTW as far as the tax burden for the middle class. The middle class do not receive food stamps. When shopping yesterday I was shocked to see that a medium sized bag of corn chips cost $4.48. We are burning our food in our gas tanks while paying .50 a gal in taxes to the ethanol companies in the form of subsidies. I for one am sick of listening to lying ethanol producers commercials that make no attempt to sell anything other than their existance. ALL food prices have increased greatly over the last few years because of this and YES–it effects the lower and middle class disproportionally.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. hargen

    Jason, If you believe 30 million people are receiving high priced care today, then why were we told that 30 million phantom people were without health insurance? Seems like someone uses these 30 million as pawns to support whatever story is needed at the time.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. jdog

    SO..... now you figure out this going to cost a butt load of money.... AFTER the VOTE. Is anybody in the mood for a Revolution??

    May 12, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Allen

    There's a shocker. Doubling it still won't be enough. Baby-boomer retirement (SS + Medicare) already had the potential to pull us below water, but this healthcare bill is going to be cement shoes for our economy.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rex

    Let me get this straight. Congress passes Obamacare, which reportedly will cover the supposed 30 million insurance-less people. People will be forced to buy it or face penalties. The IRS will enforce this by garnishing tax returns or possibly wages. Upon passing Obamacare, large numbers of doctors reportedly announce plans to quit their practices rather than become government employees and be forced to take government-set prices for services. This all means that although more people are to receive health care, there will be fewer doctors, which means that although most everyone will have health insurance, they won't be able to get health care. So they'll be paying for something they can't get, or can't get expeditiously. It will be a very poor product for the amount of money they'll be paying. Then there's the AMA controlling the number of medical schools that are allowed and the number of medical graduates. How is all this going to result in better and more readily available health care? It won't. This is all about power and controlling the sheeple, making them more dependent on government.

    More people in the system + fewer doctors = poor health care availability and rationing

    May 12, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Are we learning nothing from Greece's financial troubles? Somebody has to pay for all the welfare we hand out, whether monetary or medical or food. Neither Obama nor the Senate nor the House of Representatives will pat for this because they have their own insurance plan and know how to hide their incomes from the taxman.

    Where's the Hope & Change?

    May 12, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    Strange that the IMF and New York Times are telling the Greek government they need to get out of the government run healthcare business because it is bankrupting their country and is unsustainable, yet that is the exact path Obamacare is taking us down.
    The more Obamacare is studied, the more the cost estimates go up. Time to dump the Democrats that passed this thing, defund it, then repeal it and reform healthcare incrementally starting with elimination of fraud and waste.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. jnsesq

    Yeah? And where was this analysis PRIOR to passage when the "fiscal patriots" were supposedly awaiting the numbers crunchers to give them cover? Gee, you mean a guvmint program's gonna cost MORE than we thought? Who knew?

    More Ayn Rand - less Karl Marx.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gayle

    1)Have small 24 HR med clinics or like someone else suggested ERs that separate from hospitals for the uninsured. 2) There can be no successfull healthcare bill without TORT REFORM!!!! 3) Close the borders 4) To become a US citizens one parent should have to be a US citizen. That would keep these peole from running across the border when they are in labor to spit them out on US soil. No other country allows that.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5