Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Health Care reform cost is $90 billion, not $900 billion

Why is the Obama administration, Congress, the punditocracy and the media calling the proposed health care reform bill a $900 billion program?

It’s not. It’s a $90 billion program.

The $900 billion figure is extrapolated over 10 years. Since when did 10 years become the cost benchmark?

By that reasoning, using the 10-year rule the Department of Defense is a $6.6 trillion program and Medicare is a $4.5 trillion program (which kind of makes health care reform sound like a bargain).

Is the U.S. Department of Transportation a $721 billion program? No, it’s a $72 billion program, at least for this year. Next year it could be more or less.

Same goes for health care costs. The program could cost a LOT more than $90 billion a year. But if some of its reforms actually work, which is a big IF, it could cost less. Congress could also vote to curtail or expand it from year to year, just like it does with defense and transportation spending or any of the other discretionary programs.

Using 10 years seems to be arbitrary and misleading. Give it an annual number and call that the estimated cost. Then let savvy taxpayers do the math for however many years they want to extrapolate.

Search site | Terms of service