July 2nd, 2009
11:45 AM ET
12 years ago

New estimate puts health-care pricetag at $611 billion

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A health-care reform bill that includes a public insurance plan and requires employers to cover workers would cost $611 billion over 10 years, far less than previous estimates, according to a new analysis from Congress.

The figure is less than 40 percent of a June estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which did not include those provisions. Nearly all Americans could be covered by the bill, its leading Democratic supporters said in releasing a new CBO estimate Thursday.

"The completed bill virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans," Sens. Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, one of two panels working on the legislation.

"In addition, our bill, combined with the work being done by our colleagues in the Finance Committee, will dramatically reduce the number of uninsured - fully 97 percent of Americans will have coverage, a major achievement," they wrote.

The earlier CBO report put the cost of the less comprehensive bill at about $1.6 trillion over the same period. Supporters of a public plan, including President Barack Obama, have argued that a government-administered insurance program would keep down costs - and Obama said in a White House statement Thursday the latest bill reviewed "reflects many of the principles I've laid out."

soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    I hope the wealthy finally get hit with paying something. They have profitted on the backs of the middle class too long.

    July 2, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Once You Vote Black

    We have to decide if we want coverage for all or not. If that is a priority then the price should not matter. Do we want it or not? If we look at the price and say we dont want it then scrap it. Obama was elected to get it done. He should tell us how it will be done and if we like it we should do it. Thats all!

    July 2, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    My family plan currently costs $3200 per year, including dental. And as history dictates.., government options just can't equally replace private options.

    July 2, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. michael, vermont

    It now officially costs less than the iraq war

    July 2, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. TCM

    Ok, since we know Obama's administration is full of liars and tax cheats, who can't manager money...let's take a conservative approach and create a realistic formula: 6ll Billion x 4 = devastated economy for the next two generations....

    July 2, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Big Al

    Yeah right. Try double or triple this amount. Bush's prescription drug benefit was suppose to cost 400 billion over ten years and its costing close to a trillion. Congress always gets it wrong and we the taxpayers end up paying a steep price for it.

    And dont forget the Iraq war. It was suppose to cost less than 200 billion and now its going to cost 1.5-3 trillion.

    July 2, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Enough

    More Fuzzy math by the Democrats. Anyone can figure out they are feeding us a line of baloney to gain support for their overpriced experiment with our health care system. We also know that for anything and everything our government funds they never have enough money and are always raising and creating new taxes to keep it going. Say NO to this overpriced experiment. Look at Obamas stimulus experiment that flopped and didn't do anything. We can't afford another Obama mistake!!

    July 2, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. D. Tree

    That's almost a 40% decrease, I'd say that's pretty substantial.

    July 2, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Jimmy the Greek

    If your agenda is to socialize all healthcare... but people are freaked out by the cost ($1.6 trillion).... DON'T give up... just get a NEW estimate!!

    Who cares if it's right or wrong.... just make sure the new number is more pleasing to the ear.

    (eyes rolling)

    July 2, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Randy

    yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Just like social security and medicare and medicaid. God would ted kennedy go away. The whole north east is a mess because of this hippy leftest. Stay out of the south!

    July 2, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Obama is not my Hero

    $611 Billion dollars could possibly pay for everybodies medical expenses in America. I bet a lot of liberal hippies would be happy about that!!!

    July 2, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. MIKE

    wow these numbers sure look cooked. kind of like how they said when it started that Medicare would cost $6 billion in 1991 and at that time the actual cost was $60 billion.

    Someone needs to do an expose on HOW THESE BOOKS WERE COOKED.

    We're getting duped here people. The president and his "STAGED" town hall meeting are all about lying to us.

    July 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. RealityKing

    Logical thinking people want to know why Sens. Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd want Congress opted out of their government option!!

    July 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. NVa Native

    Canel the scam that is the "star wars" program and heath care is funded. Which you rather have unlimited funding for the fascism that is the Dick Cheney "war industry" or health care for millions of Americans? Simple choice for me.

    July 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Mike

    Nice estimate considering the bill is not completely written yet.

    July 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    So when is Obummer going to tell us he's got to tax all of us to pay for health care for illegal’s aliens?

    July 2, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. katiec

    Looks like they are making gains on eliminating costs. Hey, what has the Iraq war cost us since "mission accomplished"?
    We cannot allow the republicans do away with public option. Without it the health care plan would be a farce. Without government intervention there will be no cost cutting measures by the insurance, drug companies, doctors, hospitals etc. They have had control for far too long and will not willingly give up their money making, power driven scams.
    When our politicans get back to work we must bombard them with e mails, phone calls, letters damanding they represent us and what is right for our country.
    Will the GOP'ers listen for once?? Probably not as they never have, but we can and will win this battle.

    July 2, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. the voice of reason

    Look here is the honest truth for everybody. Something you don't see in the media that often.


    So any effort to work with them in a bi partisan fashion will only serve to water down this bill and diminish its effectiveness. It is for that reason that I say if this is a solid plan that covers 97 percent of Americans than I encourage the Democrats to use there majority to shove this down the Republicans throats.

    We can no longer afford to limit our own progress because conservatives have yet to learn that every man for himself isn't a good plan.

    July 2, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Bev

    Imagine! It's a MIRACLE....they "re-wrote" the bill in less than a week and now it's HALF of what they projected it would cost. And it has MORE in it!!! Those congressman are so good in math.

    Anyone who believes this garbage is gullable. They just "retired" the watchdog of Amtrek because the government can't run it efficiently. The post office is a mess. I can't name one government office that can run efficiently on a budget. But we're going to get taxed into the poor house because the government thinks it can regulate health care. I guess that's a lot like that town-hall meeting yesterday with the staged questions. Fool the people and they'll never know the difference.

    July 2, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Robin

    And guess who gets to pay for it?

    Enjoy the healthcare, it's on me. (And every other hardworking American that holds a job).

    July 2, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Don

    You really think this is going to work? No way no how. This will cost the America taxpayer or shall we say the middle say even more. Those who don't pay anyway or not going to suffer from there budget as it is. I still think that charity hospitals would be more of a fix than just going into debt. This is a sink hole with no bottom. But when Sen Kennedy speaks everyone listens, yeah right. He has been an embarassement throught his political career and will go down in history as a laughing stock among the politically correct.

    July 2, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Hang on to your wallet

    Give me a break before it was 1.6 trillion to cover 10 million people now they think they can cover 47 million people with 611 billion.

    What a joke, quit drinking the Kool-Aid

    July 2, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Kennedy and Dodd?


    Give me one good reason for Americans to listen to these 2 idiots. Neither one is going to be around come 2010.

    Oh, while your at it, Kennedy and Dodd... why don't you come up with a way to slash the amount of unfunded liability in the Medicare system?

    What's that? You did??? It's called "cap and trade"???? Ahhhhh... I see.

    July 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. jeff

    Lets hear what Congressional Budget Office has to say not congress on this subject.
    The amounts that congress gives differs dependig on what side you are on.

    July 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Alfred E. Neumann

    Whatever the numbers there is no will amongst this Congress to pass comprehensive healthcare reform.

    And it works well for Barack Obama – he can go before the people and proclaim that he tried but that it was the lobbyists or the conservatives or something that went bump in the night that prevented reform.

    And you know, some folks will believe it.

    July 2, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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