NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 23, 2009

Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), testified last week that the health care reform bills emerging from Congress would raise the cost of health care.  In Washington jargon, he said these bills would bend the cost curves in the wrong direction.

According to the assessment of the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT):

  • Enacting H.R. 3200 -- the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, as introduced by several House committees on July 14 -- would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period.
  • That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill's insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years.
  • By the end of the 10-year period, in 2019, the coverage provisions would add $202 billion to the federal deficit.
  • That increase would be partially offset by net cost savings of $50 billion and additional revenues of $86 billion, resulting in a net increase in the deficit of an estimated $65 billion.

Folks back home care less about what the CBO thinks than whether they can afford to see the doctor when they need to.  And they don't know how pending legislation will affect them, but they are worried, says the National Journal.

According to John C. Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, the only surprise here is that anyone is really surprised by what Elmendorf had to say:

  • The CBO months ago looked at all the cost control campaign promises of candidate Obama and concluded that none of them significantly control costs.
  • These bills are going to create a new entitlement (a cap on how much anyone has to pay for insurance as a percent of income) adding to an already unsustainable entitlement burden.
  • The legislation will inject from $100 billion to $150 billion in new spending into the health care system every year.

Source: John C. Goodman, "Did The CBO Report Make Your Day, Or Ruin It?" National Journal, July 20, 2009.

For text: 

For CBO report: 


Browse more articles on Health Issues