Obamacare’s costs: The hits just keep on coming

Posted on this blog, March 19, 2010:

To show you how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone, Democrats were pleased yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office gave the two ObamaCare bills … a combined cost of “only” $940,000,000,000 over 10 years (see page 8). But as you already know if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, there’s more here than the headline number suggests. …

If we begin the 10-year clock for this bill in 2014, and assume the 7.5 percent growth in annual gross costs which the CBO applies in 2018 and 2019 would continue in later years, the cost from 2014-2023 would be $2 trillion. … Even if we are more charitable, and begin counting next year rather than this year with the same assumptions as above, the 10-year cost from 2011-2020 would be $1.2 trillion. (links and emphasis original)

From Philip Klein, writing at the Washington Examiner yesterday:

President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law. …

Today, the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law’s core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That’s because we now have estimates for Obamacare’s first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn’t overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. Given that in 2022, the last year available, the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we’re likely looking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double what Obama advertised. (emphasis added)

Ahem.

The only way in which Obamacare critics were wrong in our protests that the law would cost far more than advertised was that we underestimated the damage, by about $40 billion from 2014-2023 if the cost figure continues to grow at the minimum 6 percent annually CBO is now using. That would make it $2.04 trillion during those 10 years.

This is in part because, as Obamacare opponents explained at length at the time, congressional Democrats had rigged the score by beginning the tax increases before the spending kicked in. That made the 10-year figures both for the gross cost and the deficit “savings” look better than they would have if we considered 10 years of Obamacare fully implemented.

But it’s also because, as I’ve explained here recently, the estimates were faulty. Take three years in which there’s an overlap between the two estimates: 2017-2019. The new estimate for the total costs during that time span is now $147 billion, or 30 percent, higher than the original estimate just two years ago. The new estimate for “savings” has fallen by $314 billion, or 63 percent.

The result is that the effect on the federal budget from 2017-2019 has gone from a projected “savings” of $8 billion to an increased deficit of $453 billion.

And it’s only going to get worse in future years, if the new projections hold. That’s because they see the revenue portions holding steady while the expenses keep going up, up, up.

Oh — and this fiscal worsening is taking place while the projected increase in the number of people who are insured by 2019 thanks to Obamacare has fallen by 1 million.

What a disaster. Unless the Supreme Court bails us out, repealing this law and replacing it with a more market-oriented solution is critical.

244 comments Add your comment

Cynic

March 14th, 2012
11:59 am

Did anyone really think that “This is one f@#$ing big piece of legislation” really had accurate numbers going in? It’s like voting yourself a massive splost tax, thinking after 4 years the politicians would actually retire the tax increase.

Gm

March 14th, 2012
12:04 pm

Kyle
repealing this law and replacing it with a more market-oriented solution is critical.

Please tell me what solutions has the last President offer after 8 years in office? I’m still waiting

Its easy to take shoots at this President for standing up and taking a stand for the 31 million women and kids who dont have health insurance the only time a rep gets it when all of sudden they are out in the streets with no health coverage.
Kyle how about taking a survey of rep who are using Obama care, and the lives this plan has saved.

Jefferson

March 14th, 2012
12:05 pm

Nothing a pile of money can’t solve. There’s a pile left on the table.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
12:07 pm

Jefferson: The Obama 2012 campaign has been looking for a new slogan since “Hope and change” doesn’t really work for an incumbent. I think you’ve nailed it!

Obama 2012: Nothing a pile of money can’t solve.

Cynic

March 14th, 2012
12:10 pm

I like that Kyle! Lets run with that slogan. GM, I guess you picked the same teams as the POTUS in your march madness brackets also?

Cynic

March 14th, 2012
12:13 pm

GM probably doesn’t realize the Affordable Health Care act only implies affordablility to unemployed folks or single moms with multiple children from different sperm donors. Wait until the illegals are grandfathered in. Shared pain for the responsible…

Just saying..

March 14th, 2012
12:20 pm

Interesting comparing your and Jay’s breakout of the same report.

1961_Xer

March 14th, 2012
12:20 pm

And it should be pointed out that “Cost Savings”… because current Medicare costs are going to break U.S. budget… was the primary reason for passing Obamacare. Thus, his “signature” piece of legislation was based on a lie, and will bankrupt us even quicker than Medicare would have.

Puck

March 14th, 2012
12:22 pm

Who needs health insurance, when thanks to EMTALA, you can go to an Emergency Room and get treated for free.

Bart Abel

March 14th, 2012
12:24 pm

Kyle’s friend Phillip Klein is comparing apples-and-oranges by comparing CBO estimates made for 2010-2019 with new estimates for 2013-2022. That’s pretty slick given that various aspects of the law are being phased in over time.

Also, raising the capital ahead of time to spend on the implementation of the law isn’t “rigging the score.” It’s just doing what we all agree that most households and businesses should do.

Finally, Kyle’s disastrous $40 billion figure for 2014-2023 period is what? Two percent of the total? It should go without saying, but these estimates are estimates. They’ll fluctuate up and down as economic conditions change. Some will get excited if and when estimates creep up, and ignore savings when they manifest, but that has nothing to do with arithmetic and everything to do with cheerleading for a result.

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/floridians-saved-142-million-under-healthcare-reform-act-feds-say

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
12:33 pm

In the future, when you look up “chutzpah” in the dictionary, you will read Bart’s 12:24.

Seriously? Those “various aspects of the law are being phased in over time” precisely to create the illusion that Obamacare — excuse me, the “Affordable” Care Act — was, well, affordable. Now we get a truer picture of what 10 years of Obamacare costs, and you describe that as “pretty slick”?

Once again, Mr. Guggenheim is beyond belief. Or parody.

Jimmy62

March 14th, 2012
12:33 pm

Not surprised. The left is fine with outright lying as long as it gets them their way. “Oh, all the estimates we based this on turned out to be lies and we knew it beforehand? Well the ends justify the means, right?”

Unfortunately the ends seem to be the end of fiscal sanity forever.

euler

March 14th, 2012
12:34 pm

I agree that Obamacare was an poorly thought out plan. We should have stuck with what’s been proven to work: nationalizing the industry.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
12:35 pm

Oh, and Bart? That $40 billion, or 2 percent, error was on the part of critics, underestimating the true cost of Obamacare. The difference between the 10-year advertised cost of Obamacare and the new projected 10-year, fully implemented cost of Obamacare is $1.1 trillion, or 117 percent.

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
12:52 pm

Our leftist friends will tell us “nothing new here, folks, move on.” Even democrats are surely beginning to appreciate the magnitude of the disaster wrought by the democrats from Jan 2009 to Jan 2011.

meno

March 14th, 2012
12:53 pm

I guess for Jefferson and Kyle endless piles of money should only be available for really important things like conducting unjustified 9 year wars.

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2012
12:53 pm

In addition to the real cost, there is a surcharge for abortion funding. Seems we can tell when Obama is lying; his lips are moving.

http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/1-abortion-surcharge-in-obamacare/?cat_orig=health

Jefferson

March 14th, 2012
12:54 pm

The alternative to health care reform is increasing costs, there’s a pile of money there to divide among the hmo, the insurance companies, something has to give, welcome to the 21st century civilization. Give some, takes some.

HDB

March 14th, 2012
12:55 pm

Question: Since conservatives wanted a free market solution….and under the present market, health care costs have been rising at a rate close to 20-30% annually….and many of the contrived solutions won’t work (cross-border sales, tort reform, et. al…..), what solutions do you envision to WORK!!?? The main way to bring down health care costs is single-payer…universal health care!!

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2012
12:55 pm

Does the Left have no shame? Do they have no character? Trying to excuse Obama’s incompetence with slurs against W is pitiful. If that’s the best they can do, they should fold their tents. Plus, most of us are tired of hearing that BS.

Bart Abel

March 14th, 2012
12:59 pm

Kyle,

Comparing me to an Obama campaign surrogate (Guggenheim was hired by the Obama re-election team to make the documentary he made), because you think its hilarious that an Obama campaign surrogate doesn’t have anything negative to say about Obama, is a rhetorical tactic of a grade school bully. First of all, the man is…well….an Obama surrogate. Second, I listed several complaints about Obama that I’d be happy to discuss in solidarity with you. But you’re happy to discard that fact because you’re determined to play make-believe to implement your school-yard bullying tactics. That’s a shame because it only highlights your lack of maturity. You can call me names all day long, but I’m still your to criticize you when I think you’re wrong.

Again, the difference you refer to at 12:35 is a difference of two different ten-year periods with various aspects of the law implemented. Compare the cost of projections for the same ten periods, and then get back to us. Otherwise, you’re misleading your readers.

I suspect that your assertion that the law was phased in to create an “illusion” is just your inference based on your unmitigated hatred for President Obama. I believe that it was phased in so that the funds would be available to pay for it and to give federal and state governments time to set up the health insurance exchanges among other components. I think my inference makes more sense than yours, but to each his own.

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
1:08 pm

Dear Bart @ 12:59, we are all ears: please explain to us why the Congressional Democrat leadership directed CBO to score ObamaCare assuming the full 10 years of initial revenues against only six years of benefit pay outs.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
1:13 pm

Bart @ 12:59: I did compare costs for portions of the 10 years that overlap. And both costs and “savings,” as percentages, were off by double digits. (The same is true for the only other year which both periods cover and in which the spending is fully implemented, 2016.) Maybe you didn’t notice. Just as maybe you didn’t notice that the gaming of the “phase ins” just happened to take place as Democrats were acting desperately to keep the price tag under $1 trillion.

So, again: Of course they are difference 10-year periods. That’s the point. The first 10-year period was meaningless because it didn’t measure 10 years of the program. The newer 10-year period tells us a more complete picture about what we were sold. Spin it however you want. This is a fiscal disaster.

Bernie

March 14th, 2012
1:20 pm

Kyle, No surprise here! do you really expect anything otherwise? these costs were coming even if you were President. The only difference betwen President Obama and some nameless ” Prober member” is the total amount in dollars expended. After 8 years of W’s spending and you as a fiscal conservative should be acutely aware of the dollars spent so unwisely in a multitude of areas and not to mention the reduction of civil rights as well. I will support this President because despite the massive spending, some to correct previous Adminstration (left behinds) errors and more being spent on the betterment of ALL American people’s daily lives ( ie housing, healthcare, equal pay,gay rights,hipanic deportation issues, college loans, banking reform, and recently contraception etc.

When has the PROBER party done as anything for the American people like this?

ALL of these things DID NOT HAPPEN on its OWN! I sincerely fear as most Americans did, in a belief matters would be far worse situation, if a Prober member were president presently faced with these same numbers. The only thing more frightening, I could envision is they would be FAR WORSE.

getalife

March 14th, 2012
1:21 pm

kyle wants to go back to skyrocketing costs.

Get over it cons.

You lost.

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
1:22 pm

Maybe I was wrong, perhaps the democrats do not yet realize the disaster they wrought.

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

Math is hard.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

getalife: “Go back” to skyrocketing costs? Have you paid an insurance premium or hospital bill lately?

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

Unless the Supreme Court bails us out

Conservatives – always looking for a bailout!

ragnar danneskjold

March 14th, 2012
1:24 pm

Perhaps the CEO of the United States should have to sign off on the accuracy of financial information, a la Sarbanes-Oxley.

Bart Abel

March 14th, 2012
1:26 pm

Correct. Democrats were trying to keep the price tag under $1 trillion dollars so that it doesn’t exceed corresponding revenues and savings. I’m not entirely clear on how that is somehow deceiving or dishonest, but you keep insisting that it is.

The 2010-2019 ten year period did measure ten years of the program since the health care law went into effect two years ago. You can’t tell by the lack of media coverage, but many components have been implemented (see my link above). The more complicated components have not been implemented because…they’re complicated. They take time to implement. State health insurance exchanges, for example.

I suggest that highlighting the cost of two years of overlap, 2018 and 2019, is like pulling the two worst days of the stock market, and saying, I told you so. That, in my opinion, is spin. We’re still talking about estimates that, over two decades, have fluctuated by about two percent. The CBO projected over a trillion dollars of deficit reduction over twenty years, and if they overestimated it by a few percentage points, I’m not going to complain.

DannyX

March 14th, 2012
1:29 pm

So I guess the solution would be to elect Romney?

The Father of Robamneycare, excuse me, the “Affordable” Care Act. The one who wants to increase the deficit by $900 billion in 2015 with his tax plan.

That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
1:30 pm

Bart @ 1:26: Let me make this as simple as possible: It’s deceptive or dishonest as a 10-year score because IT’S REALLY A SIX-YEAR SCORE.

And 2018 and 2019 show the trend once it’s fully implemented…as confirmed by new scores for 2020-2022.

Beyond that, it’s clear you have no interest in anything but spinning this for the White House. Thus the Guggenheim references.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 14th, 2012
1:31 pm

Why I haven’t heard conservatives complain this much about something meant for the general good of the country since….since….social security…..or was it medicare?

They still haven’t gotten over those two “travesties”, either.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
1:31 pm

And people who can’t figure call names, I guess.

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
1:32 pm

Liar Liar is off the blog for handle-stealing. Once again, @@ makes ‘em so mad as to go batty.

EJ Moosa

March 14th, 2012
1:38 pm

It’s a sign of faulty logic to assume that the only price we are paying is in premiums. The quality of medical care is already suffering. The debts that are being created will have to be paid at some point.

Doctors are leaving, taking their experience and knowledge with them. What costs are you willing to attribute to that?

And when you lovers of single payer are unhappy with the system, what’s your plan? Quit? Go elsewhere? Overturn Obamacare?

300 million people making choices is much better than one person making the choice for you. You really want your health depending on ANY President sitting around a table, determining what should be covered?

It’s really hard to believe that some of you have even thought this through, other than you might be able to get something for nothing.

Bart Abel

March 14th, 2012
1:42 pm

Really Kyle. Stop projecting onto me. I don’t “spin” for the White House or anybody else. Nor am I a major daily “conservative” columnist. I’m just a political junkie with a laptop and my own opinions.

And my opinion is that the CBO knows more about the cost of the health care law than you. And they still say that it will reduce deficits and repealing it will increase them: http://www.tnr.com/sites/default/files/CBO%20on%20HR2.pdf

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
1:44 pm

“First of all, the man is…well….an Obama surrogate. ”

And the only difference between Bart Abel and Mr. Guggenheim is that the former isn’t being paid to be an Obama surrogate.

Rockerbabe

March 14th, 2012
1:46 pm

Any cost associated with Obamacare is nothing compared to the cost incurred by 50+million ciitzens who don’t have medical insurance and can’t cover the cost of their care OR who do not seek care until they are so sick that a hospital stay is needed or whatever disease they have is so advance, that conventional treatment won’t work.

I say, Medicare for all who want it! Let the private medica insurance companies prey on someone else. Let Congress do without medical insurance, just like those they badmouth on a regular basis.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
1:47 pm

“and many of the contrived solutions won’t work (cross-border sales, tort reform, et. al…..),”

And your proof would be – where, exactly, HDB?

“The main way to bring down health care costs is single-payer…universal health care!!”

Single payer doesn’t address the issue of COST. It simply addresses the issue of ACCESS.

Bernie

March 14th, 2012
1:52 pm

At least in all the massive spending The American People are FINALLY getting a share of it for them and their families. The past 8 yrs of W’s Presidency. We as a Nation, spent about the same amount in a sandbox called IRAQ and we know how that turned out. All we got was a pair of GOOSE EGGS! Where was your outrage,when W wasted so much more? How much of a cost has it been to remove troops and support from Afghanistan to IRAQ and to AFGHANISTAN again?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
1:52 pm

“I say, Medicare for all who want it! ”

Yeah, Rockerbabe! Let’s throw another 50 million people into a system that is going broke faster than Social Security!

What a great idea! :roll:

Linda

March 14th, 2012
1:54 pm

Tiberius@1:44, You don’t know that.
Kyle knows who is on his blogs, whether they are commenting or not, when they logged on & off, & their e-mails, some of which determine their locations.
And Kyle can smell a rat/mole.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
1:54 pm

“We as a Nation, spent about the same amount in a sandbox called IRAQ and we know how that turned out. All we got was a pair of GOOSE EGGS! Where was your outrage,when W wasted so much more? How much of a cost has it been to remove troops and support from Afghanistan to IRAQ and to AFGHANISTAN again?”

This is known in the business as a deflection, used specifically when someone has no capable defense of their position on the actual topic at hand.

Pizzaman

March 14th, 2012
1:59 pm

Come on Kyle. The Washington Examiner? Just how do you come up with the “prestigious” source?

Jefferson

March 14th, 2012
2:01 pm

Would it take one to smell one ?

Kyle Wingfield

March 14th, 2012
2:05 pm

Bart: That’s a year-old report. I’m talking about a day-old report. From the same source.

Button Gwinnett

March 14th, 2012
2:14 pm

Only a properly conditioned prole looks for nine robed government lawyers to “bail” them out.
.
I personally could care less what the supremes say……..as does any other real man.
.
Prole.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 14th, 2012
2:15 pm

Off topic, but you gotta love the verbiage used by Biden’s sister. And here we thought the left (and specifically Obama) wanted to change the tone of politics . . . :roll:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/washington-secrets/2012/03/biden%E2%80%99s-sister-hints-cayman-island-hit-romney/371251

Valerie Biden Owens is dishing hints on how President Obama might take down GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in the fall.

“Finally, wait to fire the silver bullet TV ad. “You have to remember, when you start to kill the monster that he can’t get back up and kill you in the last week,” she said.