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Administration Caught Changing Its Story on Why ObamaCare Exchanges Will Cost $111 Billion More Than Predicted Just Last Year

March 06, 2012

According to the Administration’s own budget, the cost of ObamaCare subsidies has jumped by $111 billion from just last year.  When Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) recently asked what the reason was for the massive increase in cost to taxpayers, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius said, “I really don’t know.”  Although they have yet to officially respond to Chairman Camp’s follow-up letter, a review of history shows that the Administration has offered multiple and contradictory reasons.

First Explanation: We failed to get the economy growing (September 1, 2011)
“Changes in technical assumptions increase estimated outlays for refundable tax credits … by $133 billion over the 10-year period….Most of this impact is the result of changes to estimates of the premium assistance and earned income tax credits.  Technical changes to the models used by Treasury … resulted in more low-income filers being projected to claim these credits.” (Pg. 20)  “Receipts are reduced by $46 billion, as lower tax collections due to revisions in the economic forecast, chiefly lower near-term GDP growth and lower projected wage and salary income….” (Pg. 5) (emphasis added)

Second Explanation: “Don’t know.” (February 28, 2012)
“I frankly, I’m still a little baffled, it could be that the budget window has moved a year I really don’t know.…”

Third Explanation: Blame Congress (March 2, 2012)
“Changes in the law made by Congress account for roughly two-thirds of the adjustment and the remainder come from revised technical assumptions.”

As if the ever-changing positions are not bad enough, what is worse is that the Administration’s numbers and excuses don’t hold water.  Now, the Administration is blaming more than $70 billion of higher spending estimates on a law that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated would increase subsidy spending by $10.8 billion (CBO also predicted the law would reduce Medicaid spending by $32.9 billion). 

Fourth Explanation: No response at all (March 5, 2012)
In the face of public scrutiny, the Administration has so far failed to respond to a Congressional inquiry that contained a March 5, 2012, deadline.

The Administration’s excuses don’t add up, but the price tag of the Democrats’ health care law continues to grow, and grow, and grow.  The Obama Administration needs to come clean and account for the $111 billion increase in the cost of exchange subsidies in their health care overhaul.