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. JP

    If you call a new entitlement a reform all it really is, is a new entitlement. Lets reform medicare and medicade first and see the results we get. If it works then try it for healthcare. I guess Obama is rushing this so its in place for when he makes all the illegal aliens citizens.

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

    I see a lot of rhetoric about how we "can't afford" this. That is nonsense, we can all come off of a nickel or two to provide healthcare to those who don't have access. There are far too many uninsured Americans. Commercial insurance companies have no desire to provide coverage to these folks, so the government must address it. If you have a problem with giving real people a real option for healthcare access, you have deeper moral issues to tend to.

    July 2, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Anon DFLer

    I love how all these people hate this plan without actually seeing it. Remember when you all got sick of Democrats opposing Dubya reflexively? That's exactly what you're doing now! I'm not saying you have to agree, but give it a chance, for God's sake!

    July 2, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. John

    Health Insurance in America is full of people like Bernard Madoff

    Health Insurance in America is a Scam, Crookery and Corruption

    Health Insurance in America is worst than living in Third Wrold

    Health Insurance in America is a Vampire that Sucks Human Blood

    July 2, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. David

    This is interesting, the CBO puts out a # and the a Liberal Congress puts out a # half of what the CBO proposed....convenient

    July 2, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. SD, Michigan

    Sounds good to me. As long as the bill has the public option as an alternative to the greedy private insurers..I'm all for it. Why pay a middle-man when you can get the same Govt-provided healthcare as our Senators and Congressmen have?
    They seem to love it, I'd like to enjoy it as well!

    July 2, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. DaBird

    @ Dutch – If you really believe a trillion dollar savings then you would be considered a true sheep. Obama lies constantly (see Youtube). The government cannot run anything effectively, US mail, Amtrak, and Congress. Every American will see a HUGE tax increase in all forms.

    July 2, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Reggie from LA

    Let's see now...the cost of the war in Iraq, a who lotta billions of dollars, but I don't recall such a public outcry about a war that has yet to be proven legitimate. Rumblings about cost of the war yes, but nothing like this rancor about health care. People are dying and suffering needlessly everyday for no other reason but profit. Yet there are a bunch of selfish fools programmed by spin doctors who train them to operate from the gut, not the facts. A needless American/Iraqi-killing war cost more over six years than health care would over 10 and now you have MUCH to say?

    July 2, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. JEFF

    If you think that it is only going to cost 600 bil...you are dreaming and niave. The point is that service will decrease, politians will be deciding what services you can have. People wait in Canada for months and months and months just to see a doctor or have an operation.

    July 2, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. James Duncan

    I rather spend a trillion dollars on health care for united state citizens then in iraq any day
    it is in moral for anyone a country or a person not to provide medical care for sick peolpe

    July 2, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Obama 2.0 July 2nd, 2009 12:31 pm ET

    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.

    72% of Americans have the terms "public option" and "public assistance" mixed up.

    July 2, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Operation Crush Rush

    Its great,keep up the great work President Obama.Rush is almost ready to have the big one,a day that will make us happy and proud.Hes the ugliest antiAmerican living today.

    July 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Mississippi Mike

    Where in the Constitution does it say that taxpayers should pay for everyone else to get health care? Oh right, it doesn't. This is total bullcrap and is not withing the scope of authority of the federal government.

    July 2, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Debbie

    Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan - I'm thrilled. It's exciting to have a president who is actually getting things done, and not spending half of his time on vacation, starting wars, and ignoring constitutional law. But, you wouldn't understand any of that, would you?

    July 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Keith Johnson (Fremont, CA)

    I'm always amazed when conservatives complain about spending too much for health care. We already pay the most money for the 37th best health care in the world.

    This plan is effectively $61 billion dollars a year, which is just over $5 billion per month. We spent $12 billion dollars a month in Iraq in 2008, I'd say that pulling that money out of Iraq and investing it into this health care plan would save us $7 billion a month. Not bad.

    Invest in the US, not in foreign wars.

    July 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. John Boy

    He will have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for this. You watch. And middle class is defined as those making less than $250k. Wait and see. But we're all used to him breaking campaign promises already.

    Why should we pay for the coverage of almost 7 million illegal immigrants? Because they will vote democrat?

    July 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    $611 Billion over 10 years... $61 billion per year... to cover 40 million more. Comes out to $1525 per insured.

    Yup... I REALLY believe those numbers.

    July 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Lori, Houston Texas

    I am no expert in this issue in any way, shape, or form, but I do know one thing is for certain – if we continue to kick this can down the road, this will cost even more.

    The millions of baby boomers who are aging now lost 25-50% of their retirement savings, and 25-40% of home values. Who do you think will have to pay for their coming old age issues? Where will we go for care? Walk in supermarket pharmacies? That's great for a cold, but how about a heart attack?

    Until politicians learn that their re-elections are not as important as the health care of aging Americans, this fight will continue. And by being so greedy, SS and medicare will go broke while the banks and wall street steal the rest of our savings.

    The baby boomers did a disservice to America by allowing deregulation, out of control spending, not teaching kids financial responsibility, and most of all, turning GREEDY. They ignored the lessons of their parents who survived the Great Depression.

    How sad, and expensive, for all of us.

    July 2, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. russell

    please donot fall for those tactiic's by politiciaans whether their republicansn or democrats , you constantly here from conservative groups ,that if we offer govenment sponser healthcare it drive other issurance companies out of business , that's a flat out Lie . ( think of their motives ( money + greed ) to many politicians allow the drug companiesand the insurance companies to pad thei pockets , why do you think that so many of them are opposed to fixing something that will cost the average family of ( 4 ) in a few years anywhere up to 36,000 $ a year , healthcare needs to be fix now , so don't be bam-boozeld intro thinking that the government is gonna take over your healthcare ,you can keep the same plan that you already had and what's wrong with a little compitition to make insurance companies honest..............

    July 2, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ DaBird

    Well I believe in sacrifice. Whether it be in the form of taxes or whatever. No sacrifice, no victory! Nothing in life comes for free. People thought the VP made a gaffe when he stated that paying taxes is patriotic. Newsflash: He was right.

    July 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Trang

    I don't know much about the numbers. Making projections into the future isn't easy.

    Since we are talking about reform healthcare, can I use what I pay for alternative healthcare? I know Western Medicine is advanced and probably save lives, but I prefer the former, living my life more naturally, living and dying consistent w/ it, no transplants, no assisted living technology, etc, just let nature takes its course, where ever that might be ... except for pain control medicine ... I can use that.

    July 2, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Michael Templer

    Interesting – I am not ready to buy 611bb yet but the democrats won the election so they should pass it without angst for 20 years of wanting this program this should be one vote they are willing to lose their seat on. One this I notice about Obama while some of you accuse him of lying, communism, socialism and even fascism and nazism lol (btw you can't be socialist-Communist extreme left wing and fascist extreme right wing)
    and ever name in the book. I've never heard him utter a disperaging word
    about any of his political opponents not one time. The bloggosphere, talk radio and the RNC could learn a lot from them. Kind of reminds me of modern version of Regan who had the same temperament.

    July 2, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Honest Independent

    For all of you mentioning Iraq and the spending I have one question. Why hasn't Obama pulled us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and saved the money for healthcare? Oh that's right, you are all still blaming Bush.

    July 2, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Illinois Native

    Oddly enough, anyone who thinks that we'd be receiving the SAME healthcare as the members of Congress is sorely mistaken. They have 100% coverage with access to all of the finest medical procedures and pharmaceuticals at ZERO cost. Who pays for their Cadillac health care? The tax payers of the United States! Who's going to pay for Obama's plan? The tax payers of the United States– which means that our taxes will go up to afford this monstrosity.

    The secret to keeping health care costs down is limiting the awards that people can receive in medical lawsuits. Those have pushed health care costs up like nothing else.

    July 2, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Eric

    Why don't the liberals just call this budget what it is?....a big, fat lie? Because they want to believe that only conservatives lie. How hypocritical! And the comparison to the Iraq war is just plain stupid. That war has helped deliver freedom to an oppressed people that lived in fear under an egomaniacal dictator. This healthcare plan helps deliver medical benefits to a free people that live in the country with the greaetest opportunities to advance oneselves and they still choose to mooch off of those of us who work hard for a living!

    And if you think the loss of our soldiers in Iraq has been great...just wait until our medical care sinks to the level of other socialist countries. Many more lives will be lost as we wait for mediocre treatment that will never come. Obama '08! Yay!..... whatever.

    July 2, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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