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Obamacare’s Costs Keep Growing



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As Corner readers are aware, earlier this week the Congressional Budget Office put out its updated estimates of the fiscal impact of Obamacare, now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law (while giving states the ability to opt out of the Medicaid expansion). I thought it would be a useful exercise to go back and compare the CBO’s most recent estimates to those the agency put out in 2011 and 2010. I found that, compared to those prior estimates, Obamacare will spend more, tax more, and reduce the deficit less than the CBO had predicted in 2010.

The three CBO reports I used looked at different ten-year time-frames, but all of them published estimates for the years 2013 through 2019. As you can see from the chart above, if you do an apples-to-apples comparison of Obamacare’s new spending from 2013-2019, the CBO in 2010 projected $929 billion in spending over those seven years, whereas today it projects $1,053 billion: an increase of $124 billion. And that increase even takes into account the probability that several states will opt out of the Medicaid expansion.

The ten-year cost of the program (in terms of new spending) has nearly doubled from $944 billion to $1,856 billion, because the law only becomes fully implemented at the end of the decade.

My full analysis looks at how CBO’s estimates of the law’s tax increases have also increased; how the law’s Medicare cuts have decreased in the short-term but increased in the long-term (the ten-year cost of the law’s Medicare cuts is now $743 billion); and how the law’s supposed deficit reduction has vanished.

Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. He is a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.



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