CBO: Bill Banning Abortions Past 20 Weeks Would Cost Medicaid $235 Million Per Year Because More Kids Will Be Born

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The federal deficit will increase by an additional $235 million per year if a proposed bill banning abortions past 20 weeks becomes law, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO ran a cost estimate of H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was proposed earlier this month by Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks.

The bill, which is slated for a vote on Thursday, would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks except when the mother’s life is in danger and in cases of rape or incest. One caveat of the bill is that pregnant mothers citing the rape and incest exception must report the crimes to law enforcement.

The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would veto the bill if it landed on his desk.

“Depending on the number of additional births under H.R. 36, such Medicaid costs could range from about $100 million over the next 10 years to nearly $500 million over that period,” reads the CBO’s analysis, which is similar to one released in 2013 following the proposal of a similar bill by Franks.

The CBO based its analysis on the assumption that three-quarters of pregnancies that would have otherwise ended in a late-term abortion will instead end in an abortion before the 20-week cutoff. Approximately 10,000 abortions are performed past 20 weeks in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The remaining one-quarter of pregnancies taken to full term would increase federal Medicaid spending by $235 million per year between 2015 and 2025, according to CBO’s analysis. States would incur $155 million in additional costs over the same period.

“Because the costs of about 45 percent of all births are paid for by the Medicaid program, CBO estimates that federal spending for Medicaid will rise to the extent that enacting H.R. 36 results in additional births relative to current law,” the analysis reads, adding that some of the children would qualify for benefits under Medicaid and other federal programs.

The CBO also determined that enforcement costs of a new federal law would be negligible.

The 2013 version of the bill passed the House but did not proceed through the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. Republican Mitch McConnell, the current Senate Majority Leader, has said that he would take the bill up for consideration under a Republican majority.

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