NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 3, 2010

How much will ObamaCare cost, asks Carrie Lukas, vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women's Forum.  That was a matter of particular dispute during the debate of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act.  The bill's authors monkeyed around with the numbers, delaying some benefits, creating new revenue raisers, and pushing off known, needed reforms, so that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could come up with a score below the $900 billion target. 

Only the most naïve failed to recognize that those numbers were meaningless: Ultimately, they would have no relationship to how much the legislation would add to taxpayers' burdens and bloat the federal budget.  

CBO has since been revising its estimates upward: 

  • Another $115 billion for additional administrative costs associated with ObamaCare.
  • In addition, Congress now struggles to pass a change to the Medicare reimbursement rates, which will cost $23 billion just to patch the problem for two years.

Taxpayers must be warned that these are just the first of many upward revisions by CBO, says Lukas.  As Congressman Paul Ryan pointed out during the health care debate, the CBO score was based on 10 years of increased taxes and Medicare cuts, and only six years of benefits.  

Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin just released his own analysis of ObamaCare and found that, far from reducing the deficit as President Obama and Congressional proponents promised, it will add more than $500 billion to the deficit during the first ten years and another $1.4 trillion in the decade after that. 

Yet the program's cost for taxpayers are just a small part of the costs that will be borne by American citizens, says Lukas.  Several large companies reported that they would suffer multi-million dollar losses due to ObamaCare's new taxes.  Companies are also noting the incentives created by the law to drop insurance coverage for their employees. 

According to Holtz-Eakin: 

  • Caterpillar recently noted that it could save 70 percent on health care costs by dropping coverage and paying the penalties.
  • AT&T's $2.4 billion cost of coverage would drop to just $600 million for penalties.  

Altogether, Holtz-Eakin estimates that as many as 35 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance. 

Source: Carrie Lukas, "Your Health Care Costs, Going Higher,", June 1, 2010. 


Browse more articles on Health Issues