In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin argue that the cost of President Obama’s health care law will likely be much larger than promised.
The two argue that “the promises Obamacare supporters have made about the ultimate cost of the program are based on highly unlikely premises.” Health insurance exchanges will be more popular than the White House has predicted, they argue, causing the price of funding health care to skyrocket.
The White House is “counting on the notion that when the government offers ‘free’ money, there will be few takers,” they write. “This is not realistic.”
Johnson and Holtz-Eakin point to a recent employer survey by McKinsey & Co. which found that more than half of all companies may “dump” their workers into the exchanges. If “half of the 180 million workers who enjoy employer-provided care wind up in the exchanges," they argue, "the annual cost of Obamacare would increase by $400 billion by 2021.”
There is historical proof, Johnson and Holtz-Eakin say, that Congress is often wrong about the price of entitlement programs.
“Congress tends to overpromise and underfund,” they write. “Medicare, for example, cost nine times more in 1990 than was expected in 1965 ($109 billion, instead of the $12 billion originally estimated). We don’t believe that the federal government has gotten any better at cost estimates or resisting the temptation to expand programs. And at a time of crushing deficits, we can’t afford to be that far off again.”