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. Barbara CA

    How can we allow anyone to die because they can’t afford the medical help they need to save their own lives?

    And where are all those people who complained about their own insurance companies and HMO’s for the last ten years?

    Have insurance plans really gotten so much better and cheaper all of the sudden?

    July 2, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Sean, Atlanta,Ga.

    Republicans are SOOOOOO patriotic when it come to America, except when they are asked to pay their fair share of taxes. You idiots, without taxes, there would be no police, fire fighters, ambulances, hospital, military, paved roads, and therefore no peace. All the republicns want is a rich class of people and a poor class of people. Thats how they would maintain their majority. I'm sorry, but we REAL PATRIOTIC AMERICANS just can't let that happen.

    July 2, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. history repeats

    its amazing that whenever cnn posts something about healthcare the posts get flooded with right-wing nuts that still dont see anything wrong with what bush did!!! healthcare industry is fighting hard to keep their pockets fat!!

    July 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. New Age Democrat

    If the estimates here are anything like the estimates given so far on the economy and/or jobs, this price tag is going to double. I don't see a viable plan to pay for any of it so far.

    July 2, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Darko

    Govt can't run healthcare succesfully. The bottom line is that businesses succeed when they specialise in something. The govt specializes in nothing but taking more money from the taxpayers as they increase their waste.
    The govt has no incentive to be efficient or cost effective. Thus they're always more expensive than private businesses. Also, they don't have to worry about going bankrupt as Congress will just increase the funding with your money.
    The bailout of AIG this year that everyone is soooooo upset about.... the same thing has been happening with govt programs for the last century.
    Lastly, obamacare is NOT free. The money will come from the private sector (as usual) and the rest of the economy will suffer from it. It WILL go overbudget year after year just like medicaid and medicare until it's threatening to bankrupt us...all in the middle of a recession. Nice work democrats...

    July 2, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Fair is Fair


    The Medicare cap amount is $1840. The amount you projected is under $1840 meaning there is more room for services to be added. Now we're getting somewhere. For a $180 charge, with 4 units being billed to Medicare, they reimburse at $60 per visit. $1525 is an adequate amount for a public option. You must also realize that Medicare is for seniors so the additional money they have is well deserved. Younger Americans probably wouldn't use up the complete $1525 cap.

    July 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Brett

    Obama team and finals years at Rome is EXACTLY alike... If Obama stay with this path, then america will fallen down without people relaized.

    I better consider to get plan to move out of this country.

    July 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. history repeats

    Mississippi Mike

    the constitution talks about the governments limits it would not talk about what the american people have to do. thats not what the constitution was written for. you know nothing.

    July 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. trueblue

    At least we'll be spending money on people rather than wars or banks. Citizens, we can't be the only wealthy nation that doesn't take care of the fundamental health needs of its people. I've been waiting for this since I was in 5th grade and I'm now eligible for Medicare.
    What's wrong with us? Let's do it this time.

    July 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. tinger

    Why will illegal immigrants be covered under this plan? There will be unintended consequences if this is done. Of the 47 million 'uninsured', close to 10 million are illegal immigrants. Also, CNN, please stop referring to the 47 million uninsured as 47 million Americans. Report accurately, no bias please.

    July 2, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. bess

    Think I'll believe the numbers from the non-partisan group.

    As for Kennedy & Dodd who say "...completed bill virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans" what we'd really like to hear is that is COMPLETELY ELIMINATES dropping of currently..." There's just too much wiggle-room and spin in the word 'virtually' when it's used by politicians.

    July 2, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Chris - Denver

    $611,000,000,000. Cheap.

    July 2, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Says Cession

    The sad reality of this health proposal is that people who have poor health insurance (high deductibles, co payments, expensive) will be forced to keep it AND pay for everyone else. What a crock!!!!! I would support a government plan if it were universal...otherwise I say no!

    July 2, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Matt

    Obama's health plan doesn't reduce the cost of healthcare. In fact, the plan will increase costs, but deflects the costs to the taxpayers.

    I've seen the numbers. Of the 45 M uninsured, 9.1 M have incomes over $75,000, 11 M already qualify for a program (Medicare, Medicaid...), 9.7 are illegal aliens....

    We can fix some of the problems without Obama tanking our economy. First, increase efficiency (electronic medical records, better practices...), reduce lawsuits/amounts, proactive care (diabetes, obesity...).

    July 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Billy

    "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."

    This is a blatent right-wing lie parroted by idiots. Stop it.

    July 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. annie s

    For lots of Americans, a government option will be the key to survival. My husband and I pay $14000 per year for a plan with a $5000 deductible for each one – and even at that we are held hostage to a system that says we have to make sure our physicians are in the right network or claims will go unpaid altogether. Not only will a public option mean those that the private insurers don't want will have a place to go, it also will create a competitive atmosphere that will force the private insurers to lower costs. Frankly, I don't care what healthcare reform with a public option costs – equal access to health care should be a right for all Americans.

    July 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. history repeats

    im just curious...WHAT EXACTLY DOES OBAMA GAIN BY SOCIALIZING MEDICINE!?? even if thats what he does. wheres the profit for the obama admin? you people act like there is some agenda they have. the only people that are profiting is the health insurance companies RIGHT NOW. if this option is available it will help the american people. nobody would profit! thats why the conservatives rally against it. because the insurance companies wouldnt be able to line their pockets so they propogate through imbeciles like glenn beck, which reaches the most gullible people in this country.....ugh you people should go to school and STOP homeschooling your children like you know whats best!!

    July 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. haas

    Government healthcare...It's gotta be done.

    For those of you who say Obama will have to raise taxes, you're right. But government health care isn't the sole reason. We're going to start seeing inflation next year which means the fed is going to have to print more money. Our currency isn't going to be worth the paper its printed on. taxes are going to have the be raised to offset this but that alone isn't going to get us out of this rut. It's going to take some slow healing before we see any REAL recovery.

    This isn't Obama's fault and sorry to say Bush isn't entirely at fault either. Greed has caught up with us. We have to revamp how we run our businesses, our government and our personal finances. A major overhaul is needed and that's what Obama's trying to do. He did say in his campaign that he might make mistakes along the way but that he would always have American's interest at heart when making decisions. Over the past 6 months that's what I've seen from our president.

    July 2, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Henry Miller

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

    Personally, I hope the welfare parasites get hit with paying something, like maybe their own medical bills.

    July 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Stop freaking out about the money. Just do it. Fix it. I should not be terrified of getting hit by a car as I cross the street because it would make me homeless when the bill came in. Nor should anyone else.

    Stop the Republican and insurance greed. By whatever means neccessary.

    July 2, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Lee W. in Raleigh, NC

    I don't know if this budget number is "accurate" or not. All I know is that Blue Cross/Blue Shield will insure me at $2600 per MONTH. A public government plan can and will do better. It's time the insurance companies stopped reaping such huge profits at the expense of the middle class.

    July 2, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    Dodd and Kennedy claim it will be less than the CBO estimates. Well we all better run and run fast from their plan because you know they are two of the biggest liars in Congress. Hey GI Joe, the wealthy are pulling their money back because of folks like you and your President – why do you think the economy is still stagnant? I bet they pay more in taxes today than you make in a year but i am sure that you still do not think that is enough. Jealous people like you that have no motivation to be successful is what is ruining this country...

    July 2, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    And the liberal called Bush stupid. What is the benefit to those of us who are going to have to pay, especially if Obama exempts the unions from paying taxes as another payback for electing him?

    July 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Craig

    Go to heritage.com for the real true figures! I don't trust anything Obama and the boys have to say. They are LIAR'S.

    July 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Tim

    DOn't use that estimate, use my estimate. I estimate it will save us $500 billion per year. Trust me.

    Change you can believe in. Change the numbers until they look good enough to get popular support.

    July 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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