The CBO has just released its initial cost estimates on the Democratic health care proposal coming out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chaired by Ted Kennedy, and found that it would increase deficits by at least $1 trillion. I say “at least,” because there are major provisions of the bill that have not been finalized and which were not included in the cost, such as a massive expansion of Medicaid eligibility:
These new figures do not represent a formal or complete cost estimate for the draft legislation, for several reasons. The estimates provided do not address the entire bill—only the major provisions related to health insurance coverage. Some details have not been estimated yet, and the draft legislation has not been fully reviewed. Also, because expanded eligibility for the Medicaid program may be added at a later date, those figures are not likely to represent the impact that more comprehensive proposals—which might include a significant expansion of Medicaid or other options for subsidizing coverage for those with income below 150 percent of the federal poverty level—would have both on the federal budget and on the extent of insurance coverage.
In addition, the CBO report undercuts President Obama’s insistence that those who like the coverage they have can keep it, as it projects millions of Americans would lose their current coverage:
When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million or 17 million.
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