Cost of Health Care Likely to be Much Higher than $2.5 Trillion

David Weinberger /

From the start the president’s health care cost estimates were much too modest. Here’s why:

First, the administration’s accountants left off the books nearly a quarter-trillion dollars in what’s called the “Doc Fix”. Originally, the formula was designed to prevent total Medicare physician spending from growing faster than the Medicare population, the economy, and the amount necessary to implement changes in benefit coverage. The problem is, every year since 2002 physician groups have successfully lobbied to delay the cuts so that we now face a 10-year $247 billion measure to block a planned 20 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement fees to doctors mandated by a 1997 federal law. Obamacare advocates point out that it’s unfair to include this measure in the cost analysis, because, they contend, the Doc Fix will happen irrespective of whether or not the current health-care reform passes. But the Doc Fix was included in early versions of Obamacare and was only dropped when the left couldn’t find a way to pay for it. If left unaddressed it is entirely appropriate to include its costs in health reform cost estimates. And when this measure is taken into account, costs hit $1.15 trillion. (more…)