CBO Rescores Obamacare: Cost Nearly Doubles

>> Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From the Washington Examiner...

Obamacare to cost $1.76 trillion over ten years

President Obama's national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.

Democrats employed many accounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health care legislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation of the law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO's standard ten-year budget window...

As I stated in comments here, trusting the government to tell the true cost of things-- trusting their accounting numbers --is foolish in the extreme, especially when deciding whether or not to embark on a new social safety net/entitlement program. If we can't trust the government to tell us the truth about employment in this country, we certainly can't trust them when to sell us universal healthcare on the cheap. Not as cheaply as they claimed.


BenT - the unbeliever,  March 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM  

"CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period—about $50 billion less than the agencies’ March 2011 estimate for that 10-year period"

--quote from the actual CBO report

You didn't even question Mr. Klein's assertion for one second did you? His distorted reading aligned so perfectly with your own bias, it just had to be true.

ELAshley March 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM  

On page eleven of the linked CBO report Table 2 shows "Gross Cost of Coverage Provisions" in 2022 to be $1,762 (in billions), or 1.762 trillion dollars... that's one-trillion, 762-billion dollars-- since it's the CBO which has scored this thing, you can bet the number will increase yet again in a year or two.

The CBO offsets this number (1.762 trillion) by projected (and as the CBO's projections are notoriously incorrect, their projections can't be trusted) penalties, excise taxes, and other tax revenues and outlays, or -509 Billion, for a projected (there's that word again) NET cost of 1.252 trillion... which is still considerably higher than the original 900 billion price tag. If the penalties, taxes, and other outlays are only half right that pushes the net total to roughly 1.5 trillion by 2022.

Irrespective of projected (read: phoney) offsets, the total cost is (again, projected) $1.762 trillion.

When the CBO scores a program they will, almost invariably, arrive at a number far lower than the actual final cost. In addition, every time they calculate offsets due to revenue and the like, they, with the same near invariableness, arrive at a number far higher than the final tally. Ergo, as with all things CBO, start with the number they give you, then think higher... much higher. Or in the case of offsets, think lower... much lower.

All of CBO's projections are dependent upon the policies and spending of any given administration, the congress, and the resultant economies their policies and priorities foster. Given another five years of Obama, that number (900 Billion - CBO's initial estimate) could very well triple if republicans can't hold on to the House. If republicans can capture the senate as well they could mitigate a lot of the Obama damage, and save a lot of money to boot. The truly scary number has nothing to do with the projected costs of Obamacare come 2022. The scariest number will be the trillion-plus in annual deficit spending our government is likely to rack up till then. 15 trillion today, plus at least another 7 trillion in deficit spending till 2022, PLUS the projected cost of Obamacare (assuming it hasn't tripled by then), and this nation will be staring down the barrel of an almost 24 trillion dollar deficit. Hello! Can anyone say, "Greece"?

The 1.1 trillion number is NET cost; after penalties, taxes and outlays (and I've already said my peace on the CBO's track record in projecting net anything). The Gross number is 1.496 trillion. And, again, the plan doesn't even kick in till 2014. But all this is moot. I will be very surprised if the Supreme Court decides Obamacare is, after all, constitutional.

And to answer your question... No, I did indeed question Mr. Klein's number. Which is why I looked for myself before posting-- I have been hasty in the past and got burned. It was not a fun read, but it was informative.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM  

"When the CBO scores a program they will, almost invariably, arrive at a number far lower than the actual final cost. In addition, every time they calculate offsets due to revenue and the like, they, with the same near invariableness, arrive at a number far higher than the final tally."

You don't have any proof for this statement.

And what's this fixation with the Gross cost of the policy. the original $900-billion was pitched as the net cost over ten years. Now the net cost is $1,100-billion. Last march the net cost was $1,150-billion. You can't just say that the number is meaningless because it doesn't conform to your political bias.

Net is Net. You certainly don't budget your household expenditure each month based on your Gross income. You don't go grocery shopping and not count any savings from coupons or sales that affect your net costs.

And beyond the month-to-month costs of the policy, Obamacare provides health care coverage to 30-million citizens, 30% of those being children at a cost less than private health care coverage. And those healthcare saving are not reflected in your $1.7-trillion or the NET $1.1-trillion either.

And the law reins in health care spending in Medicare and Medicaid, but you don't count those savings either.

You're all doom and gloom, and you have no idea what the policy is or does. You haven't even taken a moment to consider if it's a worthwhile project. The conservative meme-masters say it's the end of freedom and apple pie so there you go.

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