The focus of the last several days has been the scandals coming out of the Obama Administration. But while Americans were distracted, though understandably given the troubling scandals that have been in the news, Philip Klein notes that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that ObamaCare will cost $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years:
When President Obama was selling his health care legislation to Congress, he declared that “the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.” But with the law’s major provisions set to kick in next year, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office projects that the law will cost double that, or $1.8 trillion.
What accounts for the dramatic difference? It’s true that at the time of passage, the CBO said the gross cost of the law’s provisions to expand insurance coverage would be $940 billion over a decade. But as many critics of the health care law pointed out at the time, this number was deceptive because it estimated spending from 2010 through 2019 even though the program’s major spending provisions weren’t scheduled to go into effect until 2014. Effectively, the original estimate measured the cost of six years of Obamacare instead of 10.
Now, as implementation approaches, CBO has released projections for the 2014 to 2023 budget window — the first actual decade of Obamacare — and the gross cost projection is $1.8 trillion.
The report also estimates, as Klein pointed out, that 7 million fewer people are expected to have employer-based health insurance coverage, likely because businesses would rather pay a fine than offer coverage.
The cost explosion comes because the government started collecting various tax hikes enacted as part of the law as far back as 2010, while the major outlays tied to the law don’t begin until next year. The 10-year cost really had about seven years worth of spending. It was accounting gimmick designed to make the law more appealing to potentially vulnerable colleagues — remember, Democrats wanted to keep the cost of the law under $1 trillion.