Tonight, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their latest estimate of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill (H.R. 4278) that the House is expected to consider tomorrow. Three highlights stood out:
- INSURANCE PREMIUMS RISE FASTER THAN IF CONGRESS DID NOTHING. A staple of then-Senator Obama’s campaign speeches was that his health plan would lower the cost of insurance by $2,500. Sadly, the exact opposite is true under the Democrats’ health overhaul. CBO tonight indicated that the reconciliation bill’s impact on premiums would be “quite similar” to what they found for the original Senate Democrat bill. For those who don’t recall, CBO predicted that bill would increase premiums by millions of families by $2,100 per year more than doing nothing at all.
- LOSING THE COVERAGE YOU HAVE. CBO confirms, once again, that the Democrats’ government takeover of health care will violate the President’s oft-repeated pledge that his proposal will let people keep the health plans they have and like. Under the Democrats’ proposal, CBO estimates that as many as 9 million people who would be enrolled in employer-based plans now will have to find some other way to get coverage.
- INCREASING, NOT DECREASING, GOVERNMENT HEALTH SPENDING. There have been extensive discussions about how policy-makers need to reduce federal spending on health care because it is growing at an unsustainable rate. CBO’s letter tonight confirms that, rather than slowing this trend, H.R. 4278 actually makes a bad Senate bill worse. Specifically, CBO found that the Senate bill would “increase the federal budgetary commitment to health care” between 2010 and 2019 by about $210 billion. When combined with the reconciliation bill to be considered tomorrow, that figure nearly doubles to about $390 billion.
And in case that wasn’t enough, the Democrats’ increased by $5 billion the Medicare cuts they need to fund their new entitlement, bringing the total amount of Medicare cuts to $528.5 billion. Keep in mind that the Obama Administration actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated the Senate-passed bill’s one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts could threaten seniors’ access to care and bent upward the growth curve for national health spending. The Medicare Actuaries today informed Congress that while they won’t be able to complete an estimate of the new bill before the House vote tomorrow because of the tight timeframe, “it is reasonable to expect that our updated analysis of this legislation… would be generally similar…”