Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Congressional Budget Office Cuts Estimate of Health Law Cost by $101 Billion

By Kerry Young, CQ Roll Call

January 26, 2015—The cost of expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act dropped by roughly $101 billion, or 7 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) latest analysis of federal finances.

The revision for the 2015–2024 period stems from an estimated $97 billion increase in expected revenue and an associated cut in costs from certain refundable tax credits, due to projected changes in employer-sponsored health coverage, the CBO said last week in its broad economic outlook. Also in the mix is a $68 billion reduction in the net costs of subsidizing insurance purchased on exchanges. At the same time, the estimate for federal spending on Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program was bumped up by $59 billion.

Working with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the CBO had last published detailed estimates for the implementation of insurance provisions of the health law in April 2014.

In their latest estimates, the CBO and the JCT state that about 42 million people in the United States were uninsured in 2014, a number that would have been 12 million larger without the health law. In 2015, the number of uninsured will be about 36 million, a group that would have been 19 million larger without the law. 

There will still be a large pool of people in the United States lacking insurance more than a decade after the health law was enacted, the CBO report projected. It pegged this group at 31 million in 2025, representing about one in every nine residents under the age of 65. At that time, about 30 percent of this group may be unauthorized immigrants, while another 10 percent will be people ineligible for Medicaid because their states have not expanded these programs.

While the health law addresses the population under 65, lawmakers and health policy experts have been looking for ways to curb the rising growth in Medicare costs.

Recently, the CBO said the government's spending for Medicare is expected to grow by an average of nearly 7 percent a year over the next 10 years. It also estimated that the number of people enrolled in Medicare will rise to about 73 million in 2025, from 54 million last year.

Publication Details