How much will the new health care law cost? That was a matter of particular dispute during the debate of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. The bill's authors monkeyed around with the numbers, delaying some benefits, creating new revenue raisers, and pushing off known, needed reforms, so that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could come up with a score below the $900 billion target.
Only the most naïve failed to recognize that those numbers were meaningless: Ultimately, they would have no relationship to how much the legislation would add to taxpayers' burdens and bloat the federal budget. CBO has since been revising its estimates upward: Another $115 billion for additional administrative costs associated with the new law. In addition, Congress now struggles to pass a change to the Medicare reimbursement rates, which will cost $23 billion just to patch the problem over for two years.
Taxpayers must be warned that these are just the first of many upward revisions by CBO. As Congressman Paul Ryan pointed out during the health care debate, the CBO score was based on ten years of increased taxes and Medicare cuts, and only six years of benefits. Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin just released his own analysis of the law and found that, far from reducing the deficit as the President and Congressional proponents promised, the law will add more than $500 billion to the deficit during the first ten years and another $1.4 trillion in the decade after that.