The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday released a new estimate attributing $115 billion in additional spending to the new national health care law, driving the full cost over the first decade to over $1 trillion.
But the CBO cautioned that it didn’t have enough information to project all of the additional costs.
The discrepancy between the new figures and the oft-cited $938 billion ObamaCare cost estimate comes because during the health care debate, the media only focused on the cost of the spending provisions aimed at expanding insurance coverage.
But the health care law also had all sorts of other discretionary spending costs, and implementation expenses, that were never calculated into a total figure. These include spending such as $39 billion for the Indian health improvement act; $34 billion in Federal Qualified Health Center grants; $9.1 billion in funding for the National Health Service Corps; and $5 billion to $10 billion in increased costs to the Internal Revenue service.
Add it all up, and it brings the cost of ObamaCare to $1.053 trillion from 2010 to 2019.
However, the way in which the law was drafted left the actual amount to be appropriated up in the air, merely writing “such sums as may be necessary,” which prevented the CBO from performing a full cost analysis:
For those activities, the lack of guidance in the legislation about how new activities should be conducted means that, in many cases, CBO does not have a sufficient basis for estimating what the “necessary” amounts might be over the 2010-2020 period.
H/t the Politico.
UPDATE: To clarify, the CBO earlier estimated $55 billion in discretionary costs, so this new estimate adds $60 million to that figure. However, it’s still true that discretionary spending was not included in the headline $938 billion number that deals only with the cost of expanding coverage. Therefore, combined spending easily tops $1 trillion.