The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its final price tag for health care reform, and it’s at least $115 billion more than projected. Much of that is due to authorizations for discretionary spending put in the legislation by those drafting the bill. The Obama Administration said it would cap spending on the initiative at $1 trillion over 10 years. The new numbers will break that unofficial promise.
Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee, said the president has a responsibility to his constituents to keep that promise. “If Congress were to approve all of this new discretionary funding authorized in the health care bill,” Hing told The Associated Press, “almost all of the Administration’s highly touted savings would be made null and void.”
The CBO said the added costs can be attributed to administrative costs to the tune of $10 to $20 billion, $34 billion for community health centers and an estimated $39 billion for American Indian health care.
Dr. Richard Dolinar, senior fellow for health care policy at The Heartland Institute, said if the President does not make cuts, Americans will end up footing the bill. “It’s going to come from the taxpayer,” he said. “Those who make above $250,000 a year, those who make below $250,000 a year–we’re all going to be paying for this.”
The CBO also said part of the reason its initial estimate did not include the additional costs was that it did not have enough time to finish running all the numbers before the bill was voted on.
Grace Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, said the CBO numbers are symptomatic of every decision made on the health care law. “We need to put the brakes on implementation of this legislation,” she said. “We can’t afford it; it’s scaring people to death. Every single day, there is a new revelation about the damaging impact of this bill.”