The federal government’s unfunded health care obligations have grown by a whopping $17 trillion since the passage of President Obama’s controversial reform bill, a new study has found.
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Staff at the Senate Budget Committee, which calculated the figure using methods based on those used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), found that total unfunded obligations for federal health care programs have jumped from $65 trillion in 2009 to $82 trillion in 2011.
Added to the government’s existing obligation for entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the total now comes to almost $100 trillion.
That is almost seven times the United States' annual gross domestic product (GDP).
The figures are calculated over a 75-year period, and represent an estimate of the total mandatory spending on entitlement programs that do not have a dedicated source of revenue.
As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member on the budget committee, said on Thursday: "It’s money we don’t have, but money we’re committed to spend."
Sessions took to the Senate floor to denounce the increase as yet another reason why the law "must be removed from the books."
"It is this kind of long-term, unfunded obligation that has placed this nation’s financial situation at such great risk," he said. "We don’t have the money. We don’t have another $17 trillion in unfunded liabilities that we can add to our account. We have to reduce the ones that we have."
The total cost of the health care law, as calculated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), has risen dramatically since its passage, dwarfing the $900 billion figure touted by the president and Congressional Democrats in 2009.
CBO now estimates the law will cost taxpayers $1.76 trillion over the next decade.
The law may not be on the books much longer, as the United States Supreme Court appears poised to it strike down as unconstitutional.