July 2nd, 2009
11:45 AM ET
11 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. Susan, Macedon New York

    It always blows my mind the way (some) Republicans can ignore facts t hat are staring them right in the face!

    Fact 1: our health care system is broken. Too many people are uninsured or underinsured and those that have insurance pay through the nose! I'd be delighted if my health care came to only $1500 a year!

    Fact 2: For what we pay, our level of care is pitiful. Someone said we rank #37 in the world for our health care. For what we pay, we should be #1!!!

    Fact #3 Republicans say that if we go with a public plan, there will be bureaucrats and/or politicians getting between us and our doctors.
    Got news for you: bureaucrats working for the health insurance companies do that already! The insurance companies decide whether you get tests or not, not your doctor!

    Fact #4 Canada and other countries have universal health care and their citizens seem very happy with it. And everyone is insured!
    What's the problem with that?

    July 2, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Tim

    I went to school, studies hard, got into a good grad school, and now have a good job with good health benefits. Why do I have to pay for others to get for free what I worked hard for?

    July 2, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Bushed

    Except that Bush is still blamed for the current crisis...

    July 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. The black spider

    The Republican argument: We can spend 1 Trillion to provide freedom in muslim countries in a stupid war in Irak.
    What country is next saoudi Arabia?

    In the same time we can't spend 800 billion in america on the americal people to provide the healthcare for everybody.

    And you believe they love this country more than the democrats. Wow the dumbest person on earth know this is stupidity.

    July 2, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Deb

    With all due respect to everyones' different views on the new healthcare package that congress is working on. Just think of this, you are unable to do your job because of health reason, you are terminated, you pay over 1300.00 per month cobra for 18 mo., when the cobra is ended, then you pay 797.00 per month for coverage on yourself only and do not have the really good plan you had when you were working, you will welcome a health care reform that will help with this. This is how it is for my husband who has worked very hard all of his life. Without my job, we would not be able to make it.

    July 2, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Tim

    I hope Obama's health care plan works as well as his stimulus plan did.

    July 2, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Eileen

    Mississippi Mike July 2nd, 2009 12:50 pm ET

    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.

    Here's a newsflash for you Mike – you're already paying for the healthcare for all. The uninsured get treatment and the insured end up paying for it in the long run through increased costs. It makes much better sense to cover all and reduce the cost for all. But comprehending that takes common sense, and serious thought and you're obviously too blinded by your selfishness and bitterness to see the obvious.

    July 2, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Chris

    Hey russell, you believe that a government option won't drive the private health industry out?

    The government will sit the cost so low because they can subsidize the cost with their endless taxing and printing of money. And they will have no issues with taking our country further in to debt.

    The private industry does not have the same access and can only drop their costs so far before it becomes unprofitable. At that point they go out of business and those on that plan move to the government run plan.

    You eliminate each private plan by under cutting the cost and soon you have no competition. If we get a government plan, you watch in ten years there will be virtually no private plans available. You will be left to the governments plan.

    And this country will be so far in debt and the health care will be horrendous.

    July 2, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Tony

    Of course it is far less. It needed to be so it can pass. After it passes, then they will say they forgot to figure in.................... But too late.

    This administration is a joke and will hide what it can to see thier agenda through.

    July 2, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Dr Bolsovic

    97%? That means we're also going to be covering illegal immigrants. yay?

    July 2, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. The black spider

    For all you dumb republican's running your mouths without your brain and opposing government option on healthcare.
    One single advice. If you are a republican getting medicaid or medicare, just give it up and go get your private insurance and pay for it and ask your grandparents to get off medicare because it's socialized medecine.
    It will make the government save money in order to provide medicare for the rest of us liberals.

    Oh republicans won't do that? Oh I understand.

    July 2, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Chris

    Do you people even know how Congress and the Government get their health care?

    You all seem to think that the Government doesn't pay for health care. That is not the case. We pay a premium too... it happens to be 25% of the cost. We buy it through a private insurer. Such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, HMO style offers, etc.

    Wake up people, quit thinking the government get their health care for free and from some company that you the individual could not purchase it from.

    July 2, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. mypitts2

    I'm very pro-health care reform. I would call it my No. 1 domestic priority.

    But this still sounds fishy to me.

    July 2, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Phil

    I love those people who scream for their entitlement. Our fore fathers would be rolling in their graves if they knew what our government has turned into. Wake up America...nothing is for free. Where do you think this money is going to come from? It will be coming from US! Let me rephrase that...it will be coming from taxpayers. Taxes will shoot through the roof! Since y'all love to pay taxes, you may as well get your senators to sponsor a free car for everyone bill. I'm sure you wouldn't mind paying extra taxes for that, so your neighbors can get a "free" car.

    July 2, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. decent american

    ok, dems are in COMPLETE control now.


    no mre crap about sanfords love letters, no more bush excuses, no more gop excuses. just do it. you have complete control now, no reason to look back, you are held accountable form here on out.

    July 2, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Derrick

    "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?"

    They can't vote to begin with for one thing. Paying taxes is American. That'ss what makes this the best country to live in. I don't mind paying some more taxes to stop pollution and to allow everyone to have access to healthcare. As for campaign promises, show me a president that has ever kept ALL of their campaign promises.

    July 2, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. mjm

    Or...We could ask private insurance to come up with options similar to what the government's.

    We can make insurance mandatory like auto insurance and have people carry very basic coverage.

    There are plenty of options out there that people can use. Many choose not to have insurance.

    Tax payers shouldn't have to flip the bill for those people unwilling to insure themselves.

    Considering Medicare and Medicaid are going broke, I just don't see the point in spending 611 billion for another public option.

    July 2, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Bill, Bloominton IL

    40% decrease? From What? Since the plan is not built yet, this number must be from Moveon.org as they are really good at fabricating numbers. Remember Moveon.org says this will be a great plan even though no one knows how it will work. By the way, Moveon.org may have some kool-aid available in a brand new Obama glass.

    July 2, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Jason

    Even though I do not want a government backed health industry, it's likely going to pass. I can swallow 611 billion better than 2 trillion.

    Though someone should be held responsible if this analysis was fudged just to get the votes in by August 1st

    July 2, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. democrat no mas

    Anybody stupid enough to believe these revised estimates will also believe that they will get healthcare for free. Wait until they can't get the care they expect and then are told to pay a large deductible. The public healthcare plan is coming, but it will mean a reduction in care at a higher cost. The winner? Politicians who stand up and claim that we all are getting what we asked for, then take the tax dollars we give them and spend them to be re-elected.

    July 2, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Patrick

    Let's do this. We need to keep people from using emergency wards as drugstores because they can't afford prescriptions that would keep them from getting really sick. How many small businesses would this help? If we had done this fifteen years ago, would GM still have collapsed under the weight of it's pensioners health care costs?

    I'm healthy and young and STILL health care costs eat my lunch. AND I HAVE INSURANCE! Not doing this would be a crime. Yes, it's expensive and is liable to change taxes, but I am ready for this. I don't want my kid to grow up in an American ruled by the social darwinists, where health care is only for the rich and privileged. We can't afford to wait.

    July 2, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. WarpedBob

    I'm not sure why there are so many people against this bill posting here. They act as if the isn't a problem with the current system. That Obama must be making all of the numbers about how the cost of health care will balloon if nothing is done. It all must just be a conspiracy to drive us to socialism.

    If even the medical companies realize there is a problem then shouldn't we try and do something about it? Or because some people believe it will not be a s good as advertised we shouldn't even try to cut costs with health care.

    People don't like to look at the broader picture and realize that insurance companies avoid insuring some people based on preexisting conditions and still charge more than some can afford. Even the people who are happily insured might not be safe from a medical catastrophe that could still cause them to have to declare bankruptcy.

    Instead conservative like to try and use this as another example of democrats overspending and score political points and fundraising $$$. I just don't understand how people can keep such a narrow view of the world while ignoring some of the major problems with our current system.

    July 2, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Nunya

    Right. Of course Congress under control of the proponents of the system are going to lowball the estimates. The CBO has a much better track record of budgetary forecasts...

    And lest the Republicans start pointing too many fingers, their claims about the cost and various other aspects of the Iraq war were no more accurate...

    July 2, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Nick

    So, how did the pricetag magically get cut in half?

    When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This smacks of somebody "reworking the numbers" under new assumptions to make it prettier

    July 2, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Mike Ross

    Wow, I was actually convinced this was a good idea – but then the courageous and highly intelligent community of spam blog commenter changed my Librul mind. Thank you oh beacon of rationality and sanity.

    July 2, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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