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. Mark

    How have they done with Social Security, Medicare, and our national debt. Do any of you really think that our government could possibly manage more health care?

    Also, what are the incentives than for going into the high stress medical field if it is under federal requlation?

    July 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. odysseus14

    First, the real solution is single-payer. Period.

    Let me put this in the proper perspective. In the criminal justice system, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The main idea behind that is that it is better to let a criminal go free than convict an honest person.

    The same philosophy should be applied to the healthcare debate. Really, who cares what it costs if every single person has access to health care? If 1 person's life is saved – really, people are DYING because of the current system, lives are being destroyed through "medical bankruptcies" – if 1 person's life is saved who otherwise would die because of the current system, IT IS WORTH IT.

    If you do not agree with me, then I would ask you to GIVE UP YOUR HEALTHCARE and volunteer to be the person that dies. NOW do you support health care reform – Get it? Got it? Good.

    July 2, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Jim

    I can't believe how uninformed many of you are. Either you have your head in the sand or your just stupid. In the world now we have several wars going on......North Korea wanting to start another one.......Iranian citizens dying for freedom......illegal aliens coming over the border.....Our car companies....banks...etc. falling into the hands of our government. You actually believe what this administration says. Unemployment is higher than ever..... Good people are out of work.....The media is in the tank for the president. The said thing is that a card carrying republician helped me out of my hole to see what really is going on....If everyone would just research the proposals a lot of minds would be changed. I have always voted democrat. Things are changing now I belong to no party...... I will decide after research who to vote for now.....I am so sick of all the fighting between political parties. BTW The healhcare plan that is being proposed will tear the country down.

    July 2, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Obama Victim

    the bill says that companies will be fined if they don't provide coverage.....if they elect no to provide coverage, they will finance those fines through cost cutting...a ka lay-offs......if you want jobs...the last thing to do is tax companies even more...........companies don't pay taxes...they either pass it along in the cost of the product. or cut costs/people.............wake up lefties

    July 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    @ DaBird, who said "The government cannot run anything effectively, US mail, Amtrak, and Congress"

    I guess you should keep them firemen away from your burning home next time the curtains catch...and our military must really suck, not to mention the police force in each city and town across our truly messed up and incapable land. You know, now that a Dem is in office, we should all just talk about taxes and spending and act as if we'd all be better off with no federal gov't whatsoever, even though we glibly allowed Bush to record us talking dirty phone talk to our girlfriends on 9/12/01 because we were all a-scared of the big bad brown people.

    BTW, Amtrak is fine...I get where I'm going with Amtrak all the time and frequently get there early (altho I will say that the MBTA here in Boston leaves something to be desired haha).

    July 2, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Hugo

    To those that think responsible citizens against this bill are against it due to the increased tax costs. Hey, you're right, I think Americans need to be concerned when there is a strong potential for the Federal tax bracket for a family making $200,000/yr moves from 34% to 50% while at the same time cost of goods sold are expected to increase 20-30% (Cap-n-trade), while at the same time State and local taxes increase 12-20%. Sacrifice? you mean like when government lays off some of the bureaucrats sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do instead of giving them raises or so politicians in Washington can have it all while my family suffers, give me a break, go sell it to an ACORN community Organizer!

    July 2, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. David

    This is idiotic! Do the American people actually expect this to be free???? Healthcare reform is a huge task and it is going to require a sacrifice. It IS going to cost us something whether we do anything about this or not. No wonder the government cant accomplish anything with all of the whiners and ignorant haters in this country. We cant even have a civil debate or take a pragmatic approach to important issues- BTW, spare me this " our children and grandchildren will be paying for this" nonsense. The previous generation have plunged us into an already deep debt and huge crisisi to deal with because of deregulation, complacency, and an " all fo me " attitude. Stop with the hate and fear mongering and get something done. It amazes me how the " country first" crowd is so unwilling to sacrifice and pay for anything.

    July 2, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. phoenix86

    Another $600 billion wasted. A new record for Obama. Unemployment now at highest level in 26 years. Another record for Obama.

    I see a sustained repeat of Jimmy Carter.

    July 2, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Idiot_Pelosi

    Let's see the 3 stooges (Obummer, Pelosi, Frank) sugar coat these estimates.

    Typical Liberal Democrats: Spend, Spend, Spend, with no way to pay for it.

    It's time for COMRADE OBUMMER to go.

    July 2, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Texas Teacher

    There may be expense to getting this off the ground... but in the long run we will all profit... and be healthier in the process! The Canadians as well as the Europeans are happy with their programs! God forbid that Doctors should be MORE concerned with keeping us healthy instead of treating the symtoms of illness with drugs that can kill you in the process of treating your symtoms! This is ludicrous and insanity! The very fact that Republicans are fighting to KEEP us From health care reforms shows just how stupid their cause is! And of course, the obvious millions perhaps billions of dollars spent by the entire Medical Community should show how invest financially they are in keeping the status quo!

    July 2, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. JGator

    So if you run the numbers the U.S. Taxpayer will be paying 176 billion to cover the estimated 13 million illegals. That is if you trully believe there are only 13 million illegals.

    July 2, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Steve (the real one)

    1. Has anybody with a vote read this?
    2. Does it apply to Congress?
    3. Where did te price cuts come from?
    4. What was added and what was cut out?
    5. Is somebody lying to me (again)?

    July 2, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    Mississippi Mike July 2nd, 2009 12:50 pm ET
    The constitution doesn't say we should pay for police departments either, nor fire departments, nor public education, nor social security........guess we should get rid of them too eh? Oh wait, you probably have double standards when you bring up moronic questions, don't you?

    July 2, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Claudia in Houson

    Is it true Halliburton/Cheney and Blackwater we're paid more than this and are still being paid but yet the Republicans don't want our children, elderly and indigent to have healthcare. Wake up people, those 2 company's employees were paid more than an American soldier fighting in the war.

    July 2, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. history repeats


    you are NOT a democrat!!! i am so sick of you republicans pretending to be dems in your posts. dont you understand you give yourself away when you say that dems are in anyway wrong for BLAMING bush for the mess we are in!! any democrat would no that bush is a bumbling idiot ONLY a republican that STILL will not admit that their boy was horrible for this nation would make a statement like the one you just did!! it shows that republicans, whether politician or constituant, is ONLY about pride and tactics. the future of this nation is truly of no concern to them!!!!! the party of NO future!!!

    July 2, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. kyle from ohio

    Price for democratic plan on affordable health care: $1.6 trillion over ten years. Current spending by Americans that goes into the pockets of private insurers and health care providers: $2 trillion PER YEAR! The private companies are already ripping us off for over ten times the money the public option would give us.
    Our two tiered health system allows insurance companies to charge individuals one price while allowing drastic reductions to insurance companies. Health services should have the same price to individuals or insurance companies.

    It does not take more money to fix Health Care, because we are already spending the money on the current system, which by the way According to the World Health Organization we are now 37th in the world in healthcare, and the cost of our healthcare is far higher than any other Western Power. What we need to do is restructure how we are spending the money currently.

    July 2, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Earl

    Throwing out numbers would be worth something if they had a comparative analysis of what taxpayers are currently spending on the uninsured. Right now the only way for insurance companies to profit in this business is through denial of claims and minimizes plans as fees are increased. Single insurer plan is the only way to provide a quality health care plan until the aging American population becomes much smaller than the majority of the American population. It is that simple.

    July 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Moderate Democrat

    DaBird July 2nd, 2009 12:45 pm ET

    @ 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.
    Bird, are you suggesting that we privatize the US Military since the Government can't run anything? Or do you have some moronic double standard when you talk about not having the Government run things, other then the things YOU want them to.

    July 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. history repeats


    the top 20 countries rated by the world health organization all have socialized, government ran health plans. thats all i need to hear. all you sheep that cheered as we spent trillions on a war FOR NO REASON now have a huge problem with spending when it has to do with the health of the american people!!!!! you are twisted!

    July 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA July 2nd, 2009 12:53 pm ET
    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.
    Cool but you don't have the right to sacfrice what's mine! I pay taxes just like you. I am just tired of geting taken for a ride by BOTH parties! It is so easy to talk about sacrifice when the sacrifice is not yours (HEAR THAT WASHINGTON????)

    July 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Dan, TX

    The stimulus plan has always had an 18 month horizon starting in March, 2008. We should see the full effect of the stimulus in Sept, 2010. If unemployment is 9 % in 2010, then the stimulus failed. If unemployment if 6% of less in September 2010, the stimulus succeeded.

    Obama has said exactly what to expect. If the economy is bad is Sept. 2010, then in November 2010 you can throw the democrats out. To get all bent out of shape before 2010 is immature. The real question for now is looking at the timeline and seeing when TARP funds and how much of the TARP funds will be repaid. How long until GM and Chrysler start to sell cars and private investors start buying the stock back from the Government.

    July 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Liberal Hippie

    Also, Cuba and the Netherlands spend about half of what we do and continue to have the same or better life expectancy than we do.

    July 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. DC Insider

    "the voice of reason" and "Dutch/Bad Newz, VA" some of your comments are just plain inflamatory without the facts to back it up. First, I am assuming you are both Democrats, but as a Moderate, you are making the party look like a bunch of Liberal Loons.

    This health care plan is not going to provide adequate "QUALITY" coverage to the people it is supposed to insure. I used to live in the UK, and trust me when I say the NHS in the UK is far from a model system. They have waiting lists for procedures that often exceed the life expectancy of the patients who need them. More and more people are getting their healthcare needs done outside of the UK (I for one would rather fly back to the US to get my procedures done then rely on the UK to something as simple as a tonsillectomy which had a waiting period from 6 months to a year).

    Doesn't it make ANY of YOU wonder why Senators want to opt out of this plan? Clearly this plan is not fit enough for Senators but good enough for you to accept...makes you seriously wonder.

    July 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Texas Teacher

    Oh, come on, Illinois! Lawsuits are a protection for all of us! This is propaganda! If we have NO recourse but to accept shoddy medical practices, the medical community will have no reason to improve their shoddy practices or to protect their incompetent colleagues! I suspect that if you had the wrong breast removed for breast cancer or a medical tool left in your abdomine or a limb removed for someone else... you might just want some recourse! I surely would... and we hear of these misconducts all too frequently! If one of us performed so on our jobs, we would be fired so fast our head's would spin! Get real.... *LOL*

    July 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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