Health Reform Could Cost Over One Trillion Dollars
The House’s healthcare reform bill looks like it’ll cross the $1 trillion mark, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Many Democrats have promised a bill that would cost less, and initial CBO estimates agreed with them. However, they have since added billions more in funding health insurance for the retired, as well as more spending on public health and increased reimbursements for preventative care services. Some of these provisions are intended to garner more support from important populations, such as senior citizens. These modifications bring the estimated total of the bill to at least $1.2 trillion over ten years.
Breaking the trillion dollar threshold makes reform of the health insurance industry more difficult to achieve. Nancy Pelosi has previously claimed that the bill would cost about $900 billion; still a massive sum, but short of the trillion mark. It seems to be a sort of psychological block, even among Democrats whom are otherwise supportive of the bill. The new CBO estimate is closer to Republicans’ claims of $1.3 trillion. The big question is whether it’s worth the price. Supporters would argue that the eventual savings from health insurance plans would allow the nation to pay off that debt in time (after all, America managed to pay off its decades-long national debt by the end of Bill Clinton’s second term), but others feel that it’s a pointless gamble.