New Senate Study: Obamacare Adds $17 Trillion to Unfunded Liabilities

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

The phrase, made famous by the wildly popular Hunger Games, became all the more meaningful given last week’s Mega Millions drawing.

As used in the book the words are at once sardonic and naïve. A mixture of stunning ambivalence to surefire tragedy and comic brio in the face of long odds. The words were spoken by the bourgeois residents of the Capitol to the unfortunate “tributes” who would soon fight to the death. Twenty-four children go in, but only one comes out.

Of course it’s much better odds than winning the lottery. Although seemingly everyone bought a ticket in the hopes of winning the record $640 million jackpot the chances of becoming an instant millionaire were about 1 in 176 million. As it turns out you have a better chance of dying in a freak vending machine accident (about 1 in 112 million) than you did at striking it rich in the Mega Millions.

Think twice before you go for that afternoon bag of Cheetos. You never know what may happen.

Unlike Hunger Games survival and winning the lottery certain things are surefire locks to occur. Famously, nothing is certain but death and taxes. But given what we know about how Washington works I think we can add a few things to that list: (1) government programs are going to be more expensive than originally estimated, (2) once an entitlement is created it will last forever, and (3) without significant reforms the United States will default.

All three of these sure things are highlighted in a new report from the Senate Budget Committee revealing the hidden cost of Obamacare.

“Before President Obama’s health care law was enacted, unfunded obligations for federal health programs totaled $65 trillion over a 75-year period,” the report finds. “The most recent Senate Budget Committee staff estimates show that after the law’s passage, that figure has grown by $17 trillion, to $82 trillion.”

What exactly does that mean?

“An unfunded obligation is basically the amount of money we have to spend on a mandatory expense that does not have a funding source – money we don’t have but that we are committed to spend,” explains Sen. Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Budget Committee. “It is this kind of long-term unfunded obligation that has placed this nation’s financial situation at such great risk.”

This is yet another stunning revelation about the true costs of an Obamacare program that was meant to “bend the cost curve” of health care in America. President Obama sold it to the American people by saying it would “only” cost $900 billion over ten years. He even had a Bush-like “Read my lips…” moment, saying, “I have pledged that I will not sign health insurance reform that adds even one dime to our deficit . . .”

Of course those promises were recently tossed out the window when a new CBO analysis revealed that Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion over the decade – nearly double the initial estimate. And for numerous reasons, even that number is likely a significant understatement.

But the federal balance sheet isn’t the only one that will take a hit; families’ bottom lines will also be negatively impacted. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that the average family premium would rise b $2,100 a year by 2016.

The Senate Budget Committee finding only reinforces the need to repeal Obamacare. America’s deficit trajectory is already headed in the wrong direction. Without immediate reforms to our entitlement programs future generations will be forced into a death spiral of higher interest rates and harder to pay off debt. Rather than solve the problem of unfunded liabilities Obamacare only adds to it – tacking another $17 trillion onto our long-run problems.

With debt like that, it’s hard to say the odds of a prosperous future are in our favor.