Beyond the $1.6 Trillion Sticker Shock

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Senate Finance Committee’s plan to reform health care the would cost $1.6 trillion. The estimate set off alarms, and sent lawmakers back to the drawing board.

According to an analysis from the Urban Institute’s Linda Blumberg and John Holahan, the CBO estimate is less worrisome than it might have appeared. Among the reasons they cite:

  • the $1.6 trillion is a 10-year estimate;
  • the estimate does not take into account the sizable public and private savings that would result from health care reform;
  • the costs would be less than one percent of the nation’s gross domestic product during that period; and
  • significant government costs would result without reform since millions more Americans are projected to lose their insurance if health care spending continues to increase.