The Congressional Budge Office says enacting and implementing the current version of the Senate Finance Committee health bill as written might cut the federal deficit by $81 billion over a 10-year period.
Analysts at the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation have based their analysis of the “chairman’s mark” of the committee’s America’s Healthy Future Act bill on “specifications posted on the committee’s Web site on October 2, 2009, corrections posted on October 5, and additional clarifications provided by the staff of the committee through October 6,” CBO officials report.
“CBO and JCT’s analysis is preliminary in large part because the Chairman’s mark, as amended, has not yet been embodied in legislative language,” officials warn.
The version of the bill draft that the CBO and JCT analysts used would require most legal U.S. residents to have health insurance; set up insurance “exchanges” that some individuals and families could use to buy subsidized health coverage; expand eligibility for Medicaid; slash the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; and impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums.
The expansion of health coverage would add $829 billion in costs from 2010 to 2019, but it should add $201 billion in health plan excise tax revenue, achieve $110 billion in miscellaneous net savings, lead to $404 in federal spending reductions, and lead to $196 billion in other federal revenue increases, the analysts estimate.
After 2019, if all bill provisions were implemented as now written, the provisions could lead to further reductions in the federal budget deficit, the analysts predict.