Under Obamacare, Federal Health Spending Will Double Defense in FY19

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 19, 2017 | 5:02 PM EDT

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(CNSNews.com) - Under current law--which, of course, includes Obamacare and its insurance-premium subsidies and expansion of Medicaid--total federal spending on major health-care programs will double federal spending on defense in fiscal 2019, according to the latest budget projections published by the Congressional Budget Office.

In fiscal 2018, according to the CBO’s estimates published June 29, total federal spending on major health care programs will be approximately $1.194 trillion and federal spending on defense will be approximately $603 billion. That would make health care spending 1.98 times as great as defense spending.

But then in fiscal 2019, according to CBO, total federal spending on major health-care programs will rise to approximately $1,292,000,000,000 while defense spending will rise to approximately $626,000,000,000.

That will make spending on major health-care programs 2.06 times as great as defense spending.  

In the CBO’s calculations, major health care programs include Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for Obamacare premiums and related spending.

If, as CBO projects, federal spending on major health-care programs in fiscal 2019 attain a level that is more than double federal spending on defense, it would mark a major milestone in the functional transformation of the federal government over the past fifty years.

CBO has published historical data going back to 1967 on federal defense spending and net federal spending on major health-care programs (which subtracts from total spending on major health programs the “premiums and other offsetting receipts” collected for Medicare).

In 1967, according to CBO, the federal government spent a net of $3.7 billion on major health-care programs and $72.0 billion on defense. That year, defense spending was 19.46 times as much as major health care program spending.

In 2016, the federal government spent a net of $1.0126 trillion on major health-care programs and $584.8 billion on defense. That year, net spending on major-health care programs was 1.73 times defense spending.

In 1967, according to CBO, net federal spending on major health-care programs was 0.4 percent of GDP while federal spending on defense was 8.6 percent. By 2016, net federal spending on major health-care programs had climbed to 5.5 percent of GDP and defense spending had dropped to 3.4 percent.