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New presidential budget numbers that spike the estimated cost of government insurance subsidies has Republicans on Capitol Hill demanding an explanation, the Associated Press reports.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mi.) wants to know why revised budget numbers put the cost of helping individuals buy health coverage from state exchanges at $478 billion for the years 2014-2021 – about a 30% jump from last year’s budget estimate of $367 billion.
“This staggering increase … cannot be explained by legislative changes or new economic assumptions, and therefore must reflect substantial changes in underlying assumptions regarding … costs,” Camp wrote in a March 2 letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Administration officials claim the increase is due primarily to the effects of newly signed legislation that will raise the cost for one part of the Affordable Care Act, but still save money overall. “The estimates do not assume changes in what exchanges look like, the cost of insurance, or the number of Americans who will get their insurance in this new marketplace,” Treasury spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui said in a statement.