The director of the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the health care reform legislation would cost, over the next ten years, $115 billion more than previously thought, bringing the total cost to more than $1 trillion.
The revised figure is due to estimated costs to federal agencies to implement the new health care reform bill – such as administrative expenses for the Internal Revenue Services and the Department of Health and Human Services -- and the costs for a "variety of grant and other program spending for which specified funding levels for one or more years are provided in the act."
CBO had originally estimated that the health care reform bill would result in a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion from 2010-2019; this revised number would eliminate most of that savings.
In a statement, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that the new CBO analysis "provides ample cause for alarm. This comes just weeks after the Obama administration itself released an analysis confirming that the new law actually increases Americans’ health care costs. The American people wanted one thing above all from health care reform: lower costs, which Washington Democrats promised, but they did not deliver. These revelations widen the serious credibility gap President Obama is facing."
Office of Management and Budget spokesman Kenneth Baer said in response that the health care law "will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion in the first decade, and that will not change unless Congress acts to change it. If these authorizations are funded, they must be offset somewhere else in the discretionary budget. The President has called for a non-security discretionary spending freeze, and he will enforce that with his veto pen."
Baer also pointed a reporter to comments made by OMB director Peter Orszag on his blog in March in which the budget director says that Congress has the power to pay for the $115 billion costs with cuts elsewhere, or not act on those budget authorizations in the bill at all.