Senator Roberts: Rushed Health Care Legislation Costly; May Cause Millions to Lose Current Health Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today said a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) preliminary study found the Kennedy-Dodd health care reform proposal will cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion and could actually cause 23 million Americans to lose their current insurance plan.

"It is becoming clear that in the rush to complete health care reform, the current proposal spends one trillion dollars and only covers 16 million of the 47 million uninsured, and we don’t even have the complete score yet." Senator Roberts said. "This legislation could cause many Americans to lose the care they already have and force them to turn to the government for assistance. As I have said before, first we must do no harm when it comes to this critical part of our lives and our economy."


According to CBO’s preliminary assessment:


"...Enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period. When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million...."


The assessment analyzes the cost and effect of just one of the six titles to the Kennedy-Dodd health care reform bill and can be found here:


The American health care system represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy, offers health insurance coverage to over 250 million Americans, and employs over 16 million people.


Roberts noted the most contentious components of the bill will not be released until sometime Thursday morning, leaving only 30 hours to digest the critical policies, determine the effects on Kansas, and file amendments.


"I can’t even imagine how much more this bill will cost taxpayers when CBO figures in the rest of the initiatives the Democrats want to add," Roberts said. "For example, a new government-run taxpayer-financed insurance plan that’s estimated to replace private insurance for over 100 million Americans. An expansion of Medicaid for everyone up to 150% of the federal poverty level. And dozens upon dozens of new programs to build grocery stores, sidewalks and jungle gyms.


"I am shocked by the numbers that have come out so far, and they are just the beginning. I am willing to bet that the American public will be shocked as well, once they understand what has been lurking under the banner of health care reform."


Senator Roberts is a member of the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions and a member of the Senate Committee on Finance. He is the Co-Chairman of the Senate Rural Health Caucus.