The PJ Tatler

Good News: ObamaCare to Cost 3 Times More than First Thought

The Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee (via Daniel Halper) released a nifty little chart showing the progressively more dire estimates for the cost of ObamaCare over a decade.

President Obama promised a joint session of Congress in 2009 to spend $900 billion over ten years on his health care law: “Now, add it all up, and the plan that I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.” Adding up all the different spending provisions in the health care law, however, (including closing the Medicare ‘donut hole,’ implementation costs, and other spending) total gross spending over the FY 2010–19 period is about $1.4 trillion, based on CBO estimates,” the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff explains. “And most of the major spending provisions in the law do not even take effect until 2014. Congressional Democrats delayed these provisions in order to show only six years of spending under the plan in the original 10-year budget window (from FY2010-19) used by CBO at the time the law was enacted. Therefore, the original estimate concealed the fact that most of the law’s spending only doesn’t even begin until four years into the 10-year window. A Senate Budget Committee analysis (based on CBO estimates and growth rates) finds that that total spending under the law will amount to at least $2.6 trillion over a true 10-year period (from FY2014–23)—not $900 billion, as President Obama originally promised.

I know that no one reading this is surprised in the least. The question in my mind is how best to punish those — the president especially — for being such incredible liars. The Democrats in Congress knew exactly what they were doing when they based their projections of ObamaCare’s cost on 10 years of revenue and only 6 years of expenditures. Both the president and congressional Dems aren’t idiots when it comes to history either. No entitlement in history has ever met expectations as far as its cost is concerned. Social Security, Medicare, social welfare programs like food stamps — all far exceeded their original estimated cost. In the case of Medicare, as this Reason article from 1993 points out, the difference in estimated to real costs between 1965 and 1990 either makes one giggle uncontrollably or makes one want to put his fist through the wall:

At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $ 12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was a supposedly “conservative” estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion.

There is also no guarantee that in the next decade — assuming ObamaCare survives —  subsidies won’t be increased, coverage won’t be expanded, or other little goodies won’t be added to make this black hole of a program even more expensive. In fact, given the rate at which the cost of health insurance is rising, it is likely that an increase in subsidies will be needed almost immediately.

This isn’t the last increase in the estimated cost for ObamaCare we will see before 2014.