Health Care Reform Cost Estimates: What is the Track Record?

Conn Carroll /

President Barack Obama has promised the American people that his health care plan “will help bring our deficits under control in the long term.” But so far, the cost estimates coming out of the Congressional Budget Office are not matching up with Obama’s rhetoric. The latest CBO scoring of the Senate’s leading bill, Dodd-Kennedy, estimates that Obamacare will add $597 billion over just the next ten years. Meanwhile, CBO director Doug Elmendorf has said the House health plan will increase the budget deficit by $239 billion over ten years, and “generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits during the decade beyond the current 10-year budget window.”

But a fair-minded person may ask: But those are just cost estimates; what is the federal government’s track record when it comes to accurately measuring the future costs of health care programs? Well, the Senate Joint Economic Committee has released a report studying exactly that issue, and they found that health care plan costs are always dramatically underestimated. From the report: (more…)