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. Precious

    Since we are a divided country and the DEM blamed Pres. Bush for the past crisis, isn't if now fair that the REP blame Pres. Obama for the present crisis. I survived through the BUSH years (whether good or bad), and I will survive through the OBAMA years (good or bad).

    From a DEM

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

    Kennedy would be dead already with goverment health care. if he lived in France, Canada or Britian they would say sorry Ted your to old just go home please dont drink and drive again and DIE! This is what you hippys want.

    July 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Healthcare and the environment will be the next economic bubble. Watch where the big investment banks are starting to put their money. Once the economy turns around in 2 years or so, we'll start seeing a lot of prosperity in these sectors. Speculation will eventually blow value way out of proportion. The whole thing will come crashing down in about 10-15 years and we'll be right back here where we started. Have a nice day!

    July 2, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    This is one big huge Ponzi scheme..... Obama is likely to make Madoff look like a two-bit thief compared to what we are in store for. Paying taxes patriotic???? Those who think that probably should move to Europe........

    July 2, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. R in Maine

    You determine the rates and see who takes the deal.

    July 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Ampleman

    I all for a compromise. Select 60% of the States to trial a beta test of the proposed government program for five years. Let the people who want government health care pick up and move to those States. Let the people who voted for the plan, support it with their tax increases, job changes, and economic uncertainty. Then do the studies to see if the plans work, and the stars align according to Obama.

    If this really works, I'm in for my share of the pain. If not, I won't feel bad for getting burned like the folks who voted for Obama when he predicted 8% max unemployment. He doesn't know squat about our economy, as most professors don't. He is Jimmy Carter – The Sequel.

    July 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. totally neutral

    Considerably ess than the cost of occupying 2 sovereign nations, and a much better use of my tax money.

    July 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. DavidinCA

    Why the mad rush to spend even $611 billion ( as if anyone believes this number anyway ) when we don't even have any indication that the $1 trillion stimulus bill will have any impact on the economy at all?

    What have we seen so far? Based on the results of their taxpayer funded investments on Wall Street and on Automaker bailouts, it's amazing they are even allowed to talk about another big program.

    Where's the accountability?

    July 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. James M. Holmes

    Why do people still believe the GOP about anything?

    They are ALL working for the insurance companies and have said so! They are not working for you!

    If you want to keep shelling out thousands of dollars a month to a private insurance company that will deny your coverage if it is too expensive for THEM... You still can!

    ME, I want to BUY (no one is talking about getting anything for free... so stop LYING NeoCON SHEEP) into the same system all of Congress gets from us for FREE!

    Add up the cost of the Iraq War... if we never went, we would have all the money needed for this and then some... well we are pulling out right now – so... here is the money!!! Works out great...

    Face it... you wont get the truth from the GOP if it means THEIR donors will lose some money... This plan will SAVE money over the long run for US! That is a FACT!

    July 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Jon in CA

    @ Reggie says,

    "but I don't recall such a public outcry about a war that has yet to be proven legitimate"

    + – + – + – + – +

    WHAT??? Did you just immigrate to this country?? There has been a sunami of outcry about the cost & our involvement in Iraq – FOR SEVER YEARS!!

    And the HUGE difference between spending for Iraq and this healthcare bill...... our troops are coming home. We will STOP the spending on Iraq... it's a FINITE number.

    Universal Healthcare is FOREVER. Just like Medicare and Social Security (both of which are BROKE) – this Healthcare plan will be a taxpayer fustercluck and drown the US economy.

    July 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Hammer

    So that is 611billion dollars to pay for the dead beats healthcare. Not enough to pay food, drugs, kids and housing bills for the leisure crowd now for just $611 billion more the taxpayer ( folks that still have a job) is expected to subsidize the lazy.
    I don't know about you but I've had enough!

    July 2, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Independent in Virginia

    Please post this CNN – it's a great idea!

    Why not build "Super Section 8 Hospital/Apartments"?

    Build huge, bigger than ever before, apartment buildings with a hospital unit or doctor on each floor, preferably in California, and include an underground shopping center underneath that accepts food stamps, has fast food and clothing stores, and cashes any other type of government assistance check that they may need.

    The shopping center in these Super Hospitals/Apartments can employ the residents who elect to work. Those that save enough can buy tickets to take a vacation outside of their super building and border fence, and visit other states, like Nevada or Oregon. This new state can also serve as a micro-economic model for liberal political ideas, and if successful, then we can pop them up in other states.

    July 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    The real cost can't be estimated. How many small companies and Unions will drop coverage on their employees and members forcing people into Gov't coverage plans ? It might take a little time, but Insurance companies will start to raise prices on existing plans because they can't keep or attract new business. Soon we will be in the on-payer system and the cost wil triple.

    July 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. ron

    Honest Independent wrote 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 health care? Oh that's right, you are all still blaming Bush.
    Who should we blame the war on Milia. The stupidity that come from the right wing fanatics is almost comical. It seems like the fanatics are so desperate that they are throwing everything against the wall hoping something will stick. I have yet to hear any solutions that would help reducing the cost of health care, stimulate jobs, improve the US standing in the world. Oh ya tax cuts. If the American public was just a little bit smarter, the gop would not stand a chance & would already be gone. Unfortunately you have to deal with Texas domr of the dumbest people on the planet.

    July 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. REF

    one day the bill is 1.6 trillion and everyone gasped today we knock off a trillion dollars and the koolaid driners are having orgasims we never get details just a number that will look more politically acceptable what about the current chips program we just expanded for kids medicare etc we already have for the unisured . if this is so great will obama and kennedy opt into it? you know the producers of this country has had trillions and trillions of dollars transfered from us to the govt to the so needy since the great society programs of lbj just 2 thoughts on this 1- taxspayers have never been thanked just asked to pony up more 2- with all theses trillions of dollars spent you would think we see a liittle progress by now or maybe our fellow citizens just got use to the free ride and our politicians thier votes but where does it end or where is their some encouranging results from our sacrifices

    July 2, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Donny

    We need to have the government control health care because those greedy insurance companies are all out for a profit. Government control is the best solution. We all need healthcare, so we should have it and the government should provide it. We also all need food. All of those greedy food corporations make a profit off of our hunger. I find it to be ridiculous and think the government needs to take over food production and lower costs. Also, we all need to heat our homes, yet the greedy oil, coal and gas companies insist on making a profit off of our basic needs. We need to have government take control of these industries to lower costs. We all need jobs too, but we have greedy corporations that will not hire because they need to make a profit. If the government controlled those industries then they could hire everyone and there would be no need for greedy corporations anymore. Let's have the government control everything with no other option. I mean really, what could possibly go wrong with that?

    July 2, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Fort Lauderdale

    Private employers will drop them. Small businesses can't wait to relieve themselves of health insurance costs.

    July 2, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Liberal Hippie

    I think it should be considered a right of an American to be able to see a doctor and to remain healthy whenever possible. We currently have the most expensive health care system out of all 30 OECD (organization for economic co-operation and development) countries YET we have the least satisfactory rate out of all countries. This is because we are able to treat a minimal amount of citizens through work health coverage, and if the company is small – workers may not even be able to get health insurance through the company. This leaves people to go through private insurance, which can total up to more than a person makes in a year. HOWEVER, if we were to take the top single marijuana bust from each state in 2008/2009 and rather than burning the money or giving it directly to the government (probably to go to the war) WE COULD COVER UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.

    July 2, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Real Change

    JEFF July 2nd, 2009 12:47 pm ET

    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

    Jeff...are the Canadians talking about going to our system? Is any other country in the world talking about going to our system? NO !! Because theirs works and our doesn't.

    July 2, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. A Citizen

    Someone from Ca said – "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." Then goes on to blame the war in Iraq for our money problems. I have two comments First, isn't Ca broke? Aen't they about to start paying suppliers with IOUs? Perhaps you should work to take care the issues in Ca before moving to help us "fix" national issues. Second, Obama could have our troops out of the middle east tomorrow – if he wanted to. I guess that was just another Obama lie.

    July 2, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. John

    Health Care Executives in America are EXTORTIONISTS.

    Health Care Executives in America live in LUXURY when others suffer.

    Health Care Executives in America are LOOTERS.

    Health Care Executives in America don't allow Doctors to use their INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT.

    Health Care Executives in America are LOBBYISTS who control the Government.

    Health Care Executives in America should be JAILED.

    WE NEED FREEDOM from the Health Care Executives of America.

    LIBERATE us from the Health Care Executives of America.

    July 2, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Moderate Democrat

    This looks to be a sound and solid plan. The conservatives will rally against it in an attempt to kill/murder more of our own people via denial of health coverage, but we all know that's what they do in their free time: think up new and creative ways to kill fellow americans with out using guns.

    It's time we give the rest of america an option, not this 'Screw off and die if you can't afford it, who cares if the health companies are price gouging us all...you need to die if you don't like it' mentality.

    It's time for democrats to rule completely. We've seen how republicans mess up everything they touch, no reason to keep drinking that soured milk. It's bad, and it won't be good again. The milk/republicans has spoiled and need to be thrown out!

    July 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Hugo

    Yes, more phony baloney numbers from Congress to trick the weak minded Americans among us into supporting this bamboozle. Wal-Mart and Seribus are backing this bill because one knows that American retailers already in the red cannot afford it and it will ultimately minimize their competition and the other knows it is one step closer to achieving their ideological dream of a Socialistic America. Why hasn't one politician taken the stance to reform the legal industry through tort law reform in an effort to curb in insurance costs that directly effect your premium costs? Americans have great healthcare, it is insurance premiums that are killing us all, control the lawyers, control the insurance and the free market will control the rest!

    July 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. James

    It's about time they pass a comprehensive health care bill. They've already spent 1T on the wars, and that hasn't really benefited anyone but Halliburton.

    US is the only first-world country in the world without some sort of a universal healthcare system.

    It's becoming a competitive issue when companies in other countries don't have to provide their workers with healthcare, but here in the US, small businesses are being crushed by the cost.

    Anyone who think the status quo is OK is dreaming. As expensive as the 660B sounds, doing nothing will have us spending 1/5 of our income on healthcare in 10 years (even if we have medical insurance)

    Wake up folks.

    July 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Ampleman

    Why 60%? Congress and registered voters currently run about 60%. Democrats outnumber Republicans, as do liberals over conservatives. It's easy to vote for "free stuff" when you have very little skin in the game.

    As to the pundits that all talk about our ranking in the global market related to healthcare, our country still has the lowest density, highest per capita income, and greater opportunities for motivated people. 85% of Americans seem to find a way to make it work. If this happens, we will open the flood gates to massive illegal immigration and other social problems. Many smart Americans will pick up and leave, causing a devaluation of of our economy.

    July 2, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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