Dem Source: CBO Says Health Bill Cuts Deficit, Costs $940 Billion

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom
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They’re here! They’re here!

A Democratic source provides TPM with the CBO’s final top-line numbers on the health care reform bill–the cost-estimate of the Senate health care bill as amended by a soon-to-be-released reconciliation bill. The findings, as expected, keep the bill in line with the Senate bill’s stand alone score:

The bill would reduce the deficit by $130 billion in the first ten years, and potentially by $1.2 trillion in the second ten years (though CBO always warns that projections into the second decade are extremely unpredictable).According to the source, CBO finds that the bill reduces annual growth in Medicare expenditures by 1.4 percentage points per year, extending Medicare’s solvency by at least 9 years.

And, in a small, but significant improvement over the Senate bill, the combined package will expand health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, as opposed to the Senate bill’s 31 million.

The one difference Republicans will point to? The bill’s about $100 billion more expensive than its predecessor. The price tag is fully covered, but will cost $940 billion over a decade. That’s likely a reflection of changes to the bill, such as enhanced subsidies and closing the Medicare Part D donut hole. But it does exceed President Obama’s arbitrary price of “around $900 billion”, which he issued back in September, and which Congress treated as a hard ceiling.

Now House Dems will have to get off the fence. No more hiding behind the lack of a CBO-score as a rationale for their indecisiveness. Dems are caucusing right now, and will be apprised of the score and the changes to the Senate bill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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