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. Ivan Schiff

    From my first election I have unfailing supported the Democratic Party and voting for only two Republicans once for Governor and once for President and both times I was disappointed. But with this historic opportunity to fix our healthcare system is wasted I will not blame the Republicans but my own Democrats.
    Just remember the U.S. Constitution begins with, "WE THE PEOPLE" not WE THE CORPORATIONS.

    July 2, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. DJ, Los Angeles

    They need to also figure out a way to prevent the vast amount of fraud committed by medical and dental practices. I can't count the number of times dentists have tried to charge me bogus services...one dentist said I needed 7 teeth filled, 2 others said there is nothing wrong with my teeth.

    July 2, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Oh, much better. America can certanly afford to pay another $600 billion after spending $800 billion on porkulus, $1 trillion on TARP, $750 billion to the IMF, $900 million to Hamas, and $1 trillion on Cap & Trade.

    It doesn't appear that Obama is learning fast enough what the job entails and what his responsbililties are.

    July 2, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Matt in CT

    "Nice estimate considering the bill is not completely written yet."

    Well, don't worry at all. The bill will never be read by anyone either.

    July 2, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Skip, a black man

    Just blame it on Bush! People wake up!

    July 2, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    I can't wait for some liberal to be denied a life saving health care proceedure but see the same individual grateful that he got a hug from O-Blame-ya.

    Only fools still support this guy.

    July 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Jeff Texas

    Whatever cost Congress states that it will be multiply that by 3 and we will be close.

    Get all the illegals out of the US and the toal uninsured will drop by 20% at least.

    July 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Jaz in Chitown

    You liberals are really struggling to put the government in control of every aspect of your life. A you scared that you cannot acomplish anything more in your life besides getting a degree in sociology? Are many of you concerned that the working class will realize they don't need the government providing everything in their lives and start voting Republican? I don't think many of you have the foresight to understand the trouble we are getting ourselves into. I'm sure all of you have good intentions but before you begin thinking we have a solution, step back and examine the larger problems it may cause. Just to enact the first solution to come along because it will take less time is not good a practice. Remember: many people have drowned in good intentions.

    July 2, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Hey Obama, how about doing something about jobs? Quite wasting your time on things that WILL NOT PASS.

    Obama is way over his head and is clueless on helping this economy. He is so inexperienced and thinks he's still running for office.

    I hope you people that voted for him are happy now.

    July 2, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. observer

    The powers that be are throwing out lower estimates just to get this passed and the sticker shock will come later!!

    July 2, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. TCM

    Occurred at a "townhall...meeting," which contained preapproved attendees, preapproved questions, and answers...all scripted and staged for the kool-aid drinkers.

    ".....The president called randomly on three audience members. All turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence...."

    A perfect example of the "set-up," for liberals; this administration is far from transparent, and love to provide "make believe," more than Walt Disney.

    July 2, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Obama 2.0

    They better pass it with a public option. 72% of Americans say to do it. 72% not 72 people. How many elected officials get elected by a 72% margin? NOT MANY. Get it done or get out.

    July 2, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Jefe

    $611B, in government-speak is equal to $3T+ in Truth-Speak. I don't care what the actual number is, I just want the costs of healthcare to be reduced by at least 50%. Anything less will spell the total collapse of the US economy.

    July 2, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    "The completed bill virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans," Sens. Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd

    So they think that Taxing companies with more than 25 people $750 per person will keep them from dropping healthcare plans?

    $750 per person vs $8000. How dumb are these people?

    It just shows the intelegence level of the people of Conn and MASS!!

    July 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Matt

    Let's do it!

    July 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Barb

    How can anyone believe this, 611 billion won't even cover the ilegal immigrants coming in for health care, or the 20 million that are already there, and don't forget their families when Obama gives them amnesty. Wake up America.

    July 2, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    @ Enough, who said "overpriced experiment "

    Considering the facts that we're something like unmber 37 on the list of the top 38 industrialized nations for our health care's quality and quantity (i.e., access and coverage), and that the 36 who rate above us all have "socialized" medical systems, you might want to reconsider whether "socialized" medicine is really an "experiment" or whether you're just a scaredy cat who's been internalizing a wee bit too much of the GOP's rhetorical echoes of McCarthyism.

    July 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. ib

    First of all I would like to see some reform of health care but this country is broke people it's time to face it and stop all this spending with money we don't have. Second; when King Obama objects to an amount they always fall down; bow to him and then lower the amount and it will end up costing about three times what is estimated. WAKE UP PEOPLE THIS COUNTRY IS BROKE; WE CAN'T CONTINUE ON THIS NON STOP SPENDING PATH!!!!!!

    July 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Johnny DC

    The numbers are clearly cooked. Obama and his liberals want one thing and one thing only - to pass as much liberal legislation as possible before they leave office.

    To get there, they'll lie about whatever they have to, in the name of the greater good.

    July 2, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Obama 2.0

    Now there is NO freakin excuse to not pass it. And NO excuse for moderate Republicans to yes. I am an independent and Dammit I voted for Real Health care reform. Get it done.

    July 2, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    From 1.6 trillion to $611 billion. That's huge savings. Now let's hear the right wing griping.

    July 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. T KS

    Now get it done!

    July 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Anthony

    Even at the $1.6 trillion dollar mark, we're talking about $160 billion per year.

    You're telling me there isn't $160 billion dollars worth of waste in the federal budget? Particularly the defense budget, which seems to be immune when the time comes to pare the federal budget (even in these times, there's a 4% increase in defense spending)? Remember, Iraq and Afghanistan are NOT counted in the defense budget so this isn't an argument over not "supporting the troops".

    July 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. James M. Holmes

    The earlier CBO report put the cost of the less comprehensive bill at about $1.6 trillion over the same period. This report was not even done and the Republicans knew it and went out and threw this number out there anyway to scare the American public...

    It still amazes me that ANYONE takes ANYTHING members of the GOP say at this point ANYMORE!

    Wake up idots... The GOP is workinge for the insurance companies – NOT YOU – in this debate !!!

    July 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. David

    The worst enemy of the Insurance companies who has been sucking American's dry and denying coverage, is their lobbyist and the GOP.

    Their fight against a public option has more than ever made it clear that the insurance companies are 'against' the American people by fighting so hard against competition.

    Their challenge now will be finding a reason anyone would want to give private insurance companies another dime after ripping off the American people for so long, and denying them coverage.

    And why anyone would want to vote for another Republican after they fought so hard 'for' the profits of insurance companies and 'against' the American people. Very much how they fought for the tobacco industry who's product continues to kill over 400,000 people each year.

    July 2, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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