Getting good estimates is not easy. Anyone who’s hired a contractor knows to make sure the estimates are sound by insisting that bidders stick to their estimates.
This is not what happens in government, though. Projects almost always start out with a whopping figure for an estimate . . . and then as the project gears up the costs shoot higher and higher — it soon becomes clear that the high initial cost estimate was a low-ball figure after all.
My “favorite” recent example of this has been California’s high-speed rail project, which soared by the billions before even breaking ground.
But move over, transit. Here’s medicine — 2008’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” has just received an estimate upgrade. When passed, the legislation’s enthusiasts boasted a ten-year cost estimate of “only” $940 billion. Now, the Congressional Budget Office has revised the decade’s cost tally up to $1.76 trillion.
According to Philip Klein in the Washington Examiner, the CBO says that weakness in the economy leads to more people “obtaining insurance through Medicaid than it estimated a year ago at a greater cost to the government . . . fewer people will be getting insurance through their employers or the health care law’s new subsidized insurance exchanges.”
I “daringly” predict that this estimate, too, will turn out to be woefully below the actual figure . . . unless something novel happens, like Americans rallying around a “throw the bums out” campaign to elect a Congress and a President that will surgically remove Obamacare from the body politic. Before it kills us.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.