If history is any guide, the sweeping healthcare regulations that Democrats in the House passed Sunday night will cost the taxpayers much more than the CBO estimate of $950 billion over 10 years.
When Medicare was created with the passage of the Social Security Act of 1965, Robert Myers, the chief actuary of the SSA estimated that by 1990 it would cost $9 billion. In 1994, he wrote:
So, the actual experience was 165% higher than the estimate, after all necessary adjustments to achieve consistency were made.A deviation such as this is nothing to be proud about; it is, however, much better than that based on the dollar values alone. Nonetheless, the only thing for me to do now is to commit hari-kari!
If Medicare is any guide for Obamacare, the $950 billion will cost more like $2.5 trillion by 2020 in 2010 dollars.
However, this includes all the rosy figures the Democrats sent to the CBO so that it could estimate its cost. As noted in an op-ed in the New York Times by a former director of the CBO:
The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.
How bad could it get?
The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal funds from education, Social Security and long-term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less....The health care legislation would only increase this crushing debt. It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America's fiscal house in order.
No wonder Nancy Pelosi tried to shield her party from attaching individual names to this bill with the aborted "deem and pass" strategy.
Democrats are right; this vote will go down in history. History will not be kind to it.