Senate Republican staffers continue to look though the 2010 health care reform law to see what’s in it, and their latest discovery is a massive $17 trillion funding gap.
“The more we learn about the bill, the more we learn it is even more unaffordable than was suspected,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republicans’ budget chief in the Senate.
“The bill has to be removed from the books because we don’t have the money,” he said.
The hidden shortfall between new spending and new taxes was revealed just after Supreme Court justices grilled the law’s supporters about its compliance with the Constitution’s limits on government activity. If the court doesn’t strike down the law, it will force taxpayers to find another $17 trillion to pay for the increased spending.
The $17 trillion in extra promises was revealed by an analysis of the law’s long-term requirements. The additional obligations, when combined with existing Medicare and Medicaid funding shortfalls, leave taxpayers on the hook for an extra $82 trillion in health care obligations over the next 75 years.
The federal government has an additional $17 trillion unfunded gap in other obligations, including Social Security, bringing the total shortfall to $99 trillion.
That shortfall is different from existing debt. The federal government already owes $15 trillion in debt, including $5 trillion in funds borrowed during Obama’s term in office.
That $99 trillion in unfunded future expenses is more more than six years of wealth generated by the United States, which now produces just over $15 trillion of value per year.
The $99 trillion funding gap is equal to almost 30 years of the the current federal budget, which was $3.36 trillion for 2011.
Currently, the Social Security system faces $7 trillion shortfall between spending and taxes over the next 75 years, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Also, Medicare will is underfunded by $38 trillion, and Medicaid will consume another $20 trillion of the taxpayer’s wealth beyond what is budgeted, according to estimates prepared by the actuarial office at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The short-term cost of the Obamacare law is $2.6 trillion, almost triple the $900 billion cost promised by Obama and his Democratic allies, said Sessions.
The extra $17 trillion gap was discovered by applying standard federal estimates and models to the law’s spending obligations, Sessions said.
For example, Session’s examination of the health care law’s “premium support” program shows a funding gap $12 billion wider that predicted.
The same review also showed the law added another $5 trillion in unfunded obligations for the Medicaid program.
“President Obama told the American people that his health law would cost $900 billion over ten years and that it would not add ‘one dime’ to the debt… this health law adds an entirely new obligation—one we cannot pay for—and puts the entire financing of the United States government in jeopardy,” Sessions said in a floor speech.
“We don’t have the money… We have to reduce the [obligations] that we have.”