A Congressional Budget Office report shows that the cost of implementing President Obama’s health care overhaul will reach $2.6 trillion over a ten-year period, a dramatic increase from the White House’s original estimate.
In 2009, Obama stated that the legislation would cost “around $900 billion over ten years.” The CBO’s original ten-year numbers weren’t that far off, but critics of the health care bill noted then that the cost would be much greater once projections accounted for its full implementation.
Democrats pushed the back-loaded bill into law in 2010, although it isn’t scheduled to be fully implemented until 2014.
“The fact that the outlook for the law continues to worsen so rapidly, even before it is implemented, is ominous,” Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
“And despite massive tax hikes and new penalties to pay for the bill, which CBO estimates have risen by another $99 billion compared to their estimates last March … the president’s health spending law will add at least $700 billion to the deficit over its first 10 years. Sadly, it may prove much worse than that.”
The CBO arrived at its $2.6 trillion figure after measuring the effects of expanding coverage over its first ten years in effect. At its full scope the health care law will result in “4 million fewer Americans [having] employer-based coverage,” the CBO noted.
Sen. Sessions believes that “4 million” number is a floor — not a ceiling. “We expect [it] to rise dramatically once the new entitlement is fully implemented,” he said in his statement.
Costs related to maintaining the law’s current provisions, before any expansion, are expected to increase to $1.76 trillion over the next ten years.