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Waste of the Day: Expanded Obamacare Coverage Could Cost $128 Billion More Than Expected

If Obamacare expands as proposed, it could cost the taxpayer $128 billion more than people expect it to cost.

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Barack Obama, with then-Vice-President Joe Biden in background, celebrating Obamacare - official WH photo

Topline: An expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies was supposed to cost $64 billion for three years. But Obamacare plans are now so cheap that demand has skyrocketed, and the Wall Street Journal estimates that the actual price tag will be $192 billion or more.

Key facts: President Joe Biden passed the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021 to address the financial impact of Covid-19. The law temporarily extended the eligibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act, allowing those living at more than 400% above the poverty level to purchase health insurance with a discount from the federal government.

The law also increased Obamacare’s average monthly tax credit to $527 in 2023.

Waste of the Day: Expanded Obamacare Coverage Could Cost $128 Billion More Than Expected
Waste of the Day 2.20.24 by Open the Books

Obamacare now often costs even less than employer-provided insurance, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some middle-class Americans are opting to take federal money to buy Obamacare rather than use the insurance given by their workplace.

The most recent Obamacare enrollment opened on November 1, 2023, and ended Jan. 16. A record 21.3 million people enrolled, including five million new subscribers, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Wall Street Journal “conservatively” estimates that this will cost the federal government three times the initial $64 billion, for a total of $192 billion, including a $70 billion this year alone. Health policy think tank KFF is less optimistic, estimating that Obamacare cost $90 billion in 2023.


When Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) helped extend the subsidies through 2025, they claimed it would cost only $21 billion per year. The price tag now seems to be triple or quadruple that number.

Background: Obamacare is administered by the HHS, whose massive payroll isn’t helping the taxpayer burden.

The HHS sent pay checks to almost 90,000 people in 2022, according to auditors at There were 3,583 employees making more than $200,000 and 13 people making more than $400,000.

Critical quote: “When it comes to the Manchin-Schumer so-called ‘inflation reduction’ proposal, another shoe has just dropped,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said before the Inflation Reduction Act passed.

“[Congressional Budget Office] indicates that the Obamacare subsidies can go to a family of four earning $304,000 a year. This is, by any reasonable definition, people who are doing well and not in need of subsidies from the government.”


Supporting quote: “Numbers do not lie: Not only is demand for Marketplace insurance coverage at an all-time high, but the Marketplaces are delivering on the Affordable Care Act’s promise to provide the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance to millions of Americans,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a January press release.

Summary: The Affordable Care Act is succeeding at insuring millions of Americans, but the cost to taxpayers is skyrocketing as families who likely don’t need government assistance join Obamacare.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO/founder of Before dedicating his life to public service, Adam co-founded HomePages Directories, a $20 million publishing company (1997-2007). His works have been featured on the BBC, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, FOX News, CNN, National Public Radio (NPR), Forbes, Newsweek, and many other national media.

Today, is the largest private repository of U.S. public-sector spending. Mission: post "every dime, online, in real time." In 2022, captured nearly all public expenditures in the country, including nearly all disclosed federal government spending; 50 of 50 state checkbooks; and 25 million public employee salary and pension records from 50,000 public bodies across America.

The group's aggressive transparency and forensic auditing of government spending has led to the assembly of grand juries, indictments, and successful prosecutions; congressional briefings, hearings, and subpoenas; Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits; Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports; federal legislation; and much more.

Our Honorary Chairman - In Memoriam is U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, MD.

Andrzejewski's federal oversight work was included in the President's Budget To Congress FY2021. The budget cited his organization by name, bullet-pointed their findings, and footnoted/hyperlinked to their report.

Posted on YouTube, Andrzejewski's presentation, The Depth of the Swamp, at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar 2020 in Naples, Florida received 3.8 million views.

Andrzejewski has spoken at the Columbia School of Journalism, Harvard Law School and the law schools at Georgetown and George Washington regarding big data journalism. As a senior policy contributor at Forbes, Adam had nearly 20 million pageviews on 206 published investigations. In 2022, investigative fact-finding on Dr. Fauci's finances led to his cancellation at Forbes.

In 2022, Andrzejewski did 473 live television and radio interviews across broadcast, major cable platforms, and radio shows. Andrzejewski is the author of The Waste of the Day column at Real Clear Policy. The column is syndicated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of nearly 200 ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates across USA.

Andrzejewski lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Kerry and three daughters. He is a lector at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and has finished the Chicago Marathon eight times (PR 3:58.49 in 2022).


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