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Hidden Costs of Health Care Bill - Price Tag of Legislation Over a Trillion Dollars and Stealthily Growing


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, Nov 4, 2009 -

Hidden Costs of Health Care Bill
Price Tag of Legislation Over a Trillion Dollars and Stealthily Growing
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Democrat health care bill unveiled last week has been subject to various cost estimates, resulting in much confusion regarding the true cost of the legislation.  The most recent estimate of the Pelosi health care bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that the legislation will total over $1.1 trillion over 10 years. However, this estimate does not include spending for multiple programs funded with discretionary dollars under the Appropriations process.
 
In fact, in addition to large sums of funding specifically outlined in the bill but not included in the CBO estimate, the bill contains language that allows various programs to spend “such sums as may be necessary” – or virtually unlimited streams of funding to be decided in future Appropriations bills.    
 
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis expressed his dismay at this open-ended funding language as well as the exorbitant cost of the overall legislation.
 
“This flawed legislation is already expected to cost the taxpayers over a trillion dollars, yet hidden costs and unlimited funding provisions within the bill make it even more expensive than anyone has yet realized. How can Members of Congress cast informed votes on a bill when there is no way to know the true cost to the American taxpayer?” Lewis said.
 
Lewis continued, “The bottom line is the cost of this health care bill is over a trillion and growing, and we have no way of knowing the ultimate price or effects of this massive and unrestricted spending. It is simply irresponsible of Congress to pass a health care bill without understanding these basic facts or doing anything to restrain this immense cost. ”
 
The following is list of several program costs that were not included in CBO’s estimate:
 
 
H.R. 3962
Page #
Program Name
Authorized Amount
Page 69
Wellness Program Grants
Such sums as may be necessary*
Page 206
Assistance to Compacting States
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 210
Start-up and Solvency Grants and Loans
5,000,000,000
(over 5 years)
Page 863
National Independent Monitor Pilot Program
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1349
Improvements to 340B Program Integrity
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1381
Comprehensive Programs to Provide Education to Nurses and Create a Pipeline to Nursing
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1397
No Child Left Unimmunized against Influenza: Demonstration Program…
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1421
Postpartum Depression (Expansion and Intensification of Activities)
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1430
Grants to Promote Positive Health Behaviors and Outcomes
$150,000,000
(over 5 years)
Page 1433
Incentive Payments for Medical Liability Reform
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1436
Infant Mortality Pilot Programs
$50,000,000
Page 1440
Secondary Schools Health Sciences Training Program
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1457
Community-Based Collaborative Care Network Program
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1462
Community-Based Overweight and Obesity Prevention Program
$10,000,000 + such sums
Page 1464
Reducing Student-to-School Nurse Ratios
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1467
Medical-Legal Partnerships
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1477
Emergency Care-Related Programs
$100,000,000 + Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1618
Indian Health Care Improvement –Activities Regarding Women’s Health
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1666
Indian Health Care Improvement –American Indians into Psychology Program
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1724
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Human Resources and Development
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1769
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Health Services
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1820
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Facilities
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1849
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Access to Health Services
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1884
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Health Services for Urban Indians
Such sums as may be necessary
 Page 1917
Indian Health Care Improvement –
Indian Youth Telemental Health Demonstration Program  
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1935
Indian Health Care Improvement –Behavioral Health Programs
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1961
Indian Health Care Improvement –Miscellaneous Provisions
Such sums as may be necessary
Page 1974
Native American Health and Wellness Foundation
$500,000 for each fiscal year
 
* “Such Sums” - Several of the programs in H.R. 3962 are funded under provisions that allow the expenditure of “such sums as may be necessary” to carry out the purpose of the relevant section of legislation. This ill-defined and virtually unlimited funding would be decided in future Appropriations bills, and is not included in the most recent CBO overall cost estimate.
 

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