Federal programs rarely come in under budget. Consider Medicare, which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 1967, lawmakers projected annual spending in the program would reach $12 billion in 1990. The actual tab that year? A cool $110 billion.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office says that Obamacare will buck the trend. The CBO has lowered its projections for the cost of the president’s healthcare law by $142 billion over the coming decade, from $1.35 trillion to $1.2 trillion. Obamacare may cost the feds less than anticipated, but it’s extracting far more from consumers’ wallets than they bargained for. Consequently, Obamacare has put insurance out of reach for many Americans – breaking its promise to make health care more affordable.
The decline in Obamacare’s cost is not as impressive as it seems. The total price tag is still some $250 billion higher than the president promised when he signed Obamacare in March 2010. The CBO’s projection came down primarily because the agency decided that the law would be less effective at expanding access to insurance coverage than previously thought. An earlier estimate held that Obamacare would increase the number of insured Americans by 27 million in 2023. The new estimate is 25 million.