The CBO didn’t make a mistake here. They just did as they were told by the Obama administration, which produced a giant lie.
Federal payments required by President Barack Obama’s health care law are being understated by as much as $50 billion per year because official budget forecasts ignore the cost of insuring many employees’ spouses and children, according to a new analysis. The result could cost the U.S. Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars during the first ten years of the new health care law’s implementation.
“The Congressional Budget Office has never done a cost-estimate of this [because] they were expressly told to do their modeling on single [person] coverage,” said Richard Burkhauser in a telephone interview Monday. Burkhauser is an economist who teaches in Cornell University’s department of policy analysis and management. On Monday the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper on the subject that Burkhauser co-authored with colleagues from Cornell and Indiana University.
Employees and employers can use the rules to their own advantage, he said. “A very large number of workers” will be able to apply for federal subsidies, “dramatically increasing the cost” of the law, he said.
In May a congressional committee set the accounting rules that determine who will qualify for federal health care subsidies under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When the committee handed down the rules to the Congressional Budget Office, its formula excluded the health care costs of millions of workers’ spouses and children. The result was a final estimate for 2010 that hides those costs.
And all of that will add to the deficit, naturally. And the after-the-fact ruling to force insurers to cover birth control without co-pays will drive insurance rates up, pricing some out of the market. That will drive additional numbers toward the government subsidies, too.