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Department of Corrections

On Monday, I posted some tables from a Congressional Budget Office presentation anticipating the breakdown of the 2020 budget. One of the things I took from those tables was that health-care reform wasn't much of a contributor to federal spending, as it hardly showed up in the data. Unfortunately, I was wrong to assume that the CBO had fed health-care reform into their 2020 projection: They haven't yet, so the tables weren't affected by health-care reform at all. Apologies for the error.

We can, however, use the presentation to run the numbers ourselves. The CBO predicts that federal spending will reach $5.46 trillion in 2020. CBO also predicts that the health-care bill will cost $175 billion in 2019 (and save $188 billion, thus cutting the deficit by $13 billion). Let's be generous to inflation and to discretionary spending and round it up to $200 billion in 2020. That's 3.6 percent of $5.46 trillion, which is to say that health-care reform will represent less than 4 percent of anticipated government spending in 2020. And that's before we even get into questions of whether the bill's offsetting cuts and taxes will lead to the deficit-reduction they predict.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 19, 2010; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Maybe so, but 200 billion is a gigantic number, and can therefore be rounded up to "trillions" and "socialist takeover!"

Posted by: bdballard | May 19, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

You damn liberals and your jackass understanding of American government priorities. That $200 billion you take so lightly could be used to develop and implement a new Army vehicle, or even a variant on an attack helecopter. While your socialist friends go to the doctor, we're missing a prime opportunity to get ahead in the worldwide arms race.

Posted by: Jaycal | May 19, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

we're missing a prime opportunity to get ahead in the worldwide arms race. Said the defence contractor.

Posted by: obrier2 | May 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse


Good on you to admit when you're wrong.

Will you do it in 10 years when HCR costs much more than they've projected???

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 19, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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