- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2013

Budget estimates for states to participate in the Obamacare health insurance exchange have soared to $4.4 billion, the president’s proposal sent to Congress on Wednesday outlined.

That’s for fiscal 2012 and 2013 combined, Bloomberg reported. And by 2014, those costs will have hit $5.7 billion.

The spending estimates are more than double what was initially predicted, Bloomberg reported. It comes as various administration officials — Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius is the latest — have admitted the implementation of Obamacare has proven more complicated than expected.

Various analysts and lobbyists attribute the rising cost projections on Congress’ push for speedy implementation of Obamacare, as well as changes in how the medical plan will be offered, Bloomberg reported.

“Once you’re behind schedule, the way you solve problems is you write checks,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who now heads anti-Obamacare group, American Action Forum, as quoted in Bloomberg.

The health care industry is supposed to have Obamacare fully operational by Jan. 1, 2014.

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White House officials said the bulk of the health reform law meets that deadline, Bloomberg said. At the same time, they’re warning that the state exchange system is going to prove difficult to navigate, especially for low-income people.

“It’s a lot more complicated than anybody imagined,” said Joseph Antos, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who advised the CBO, in the Bloomberg report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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