Posted by: Jeff | March 18, 2010

The Expanding Government Meme

Congressional Republicans, fearing an impending up or down vote on the Senate version of health care reform in the House, have taken an all-hands-on-deck strategy for painting the bill as a drastic multi-trillion dollar expansion of government.  Well, thankfully, the Congressional Budget Office has finally finished scoring the revised version of the bill + amendments and we now have an official price tag to support these platitudes… right?

Erm. No.  From the CBO:

CBO has just released an estimate of the budgetary effects of the health bill, H.R. 3590, that passed the Senate on December 24. Today’s estimate differs from the estimate for a slightly earlier version of the legislation that we released on December 19 in that it encompasses all of the amendments that were adopted by the Senate, reflects a revised assumption about its enactment date, and incorporates some technical revisions. Like the December 19 estimate, this estimate is based on CBO’s baseline projections from March 2009. We and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) prepared this updated estimate in preparation for further consideration of health care legislation. However, the changes we have made do not result in an estimate that differs substantially from the earlier one.

CBO and JCT now estimate that, on balance, the direct (mandatory) spending and revenue effects of enacting H.R. 3590 as passed by the Senate would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $118 billion over the 2010–2019 period. (Direct spending—as distinguished from discretionary spending—is spending that stems from legislation other than appropriation acts.)  In our earlier estimate, the budgetary impact was a net reduction in deficits of $132 billion.


In total, CBO and JCT estimate that the legislation would increase outlays by $355 billion and increase revenues by $473 billion between 2010 and 2019.

REDUCTION of costs?  No public option?  At this point, is it fair to ask Congressional Republicans whether there is any form of health care reform they’d actually vote for, or whether they’d prefer the status quo that leaves 50 million+ people uninsured?

Without significant reform to the healthcare system, the number of uninsured Americans could grow by 10 million in five years, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.A RWJF report projects that by 2015, there could be as many as 59.7 million people uninsured, and that number could swell to 67.6 million by 2020. An estimated 49.4 million individuals were without health coverage in 2010.

Pass the bill.

For an excellent breakdown of the differences between the House, Senate, and Obama reform plans, see this comparison created by the Kaiser Family Foundation.



  1. […] that got glossed over in the wonky policy debate on costs and coverage.  I have to admit that I’ve mainly been focused on two variables – expanding coverage and decreasing costs, both of which this bill does well.  Regarding […]

  2. […] it doesn’t. It decreases the size of the federal budget by $130 BILLION over the next ten years, and will […]

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