In an apparent miscalculation, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Texas) claimed Tuesday that ObamaCare will cost $5 million per person.
Precisely how Sessions arrived at that calculation during House floor debate on the budget is unclear. Sessions cited an overall estimate from House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) that ObamaCare will cost $108 billion, though he acknowledged it was not exact.
"One of the questions I asked him yesterday was, Mr. Price, how much does the Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare, cost the taxpayer in the budget? He said, you know, I don't know, but I'll get back to you. By the end of the hearing he said, what he could figure, $108 billion. $108 billion. Now, I had not checked this out. And in fairness to Tom Price, he's allowed to go and double check everything. That was a cursory view," Sessions said.
Sessions then suggested that one could calculate the cost of ObamaCare per person by dividing $108 billion by 12 million, an estimate of the number of people receiving insurance through the healthcare law. He cited the 12 million figure from Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterDemocrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee.
"If that's true, and if I accept the figures that the gentlewoman, the ranking member of the committee, said of the number of people who are on ObamaCare, Affordable Care Act, about 12 [million]. If you just do simple multiplication, 12 million into $108 billion, we're talking literally every single recipient would be costing this government more than $5 million per person for their insurance. It's staggering," Sessions said.
"If it really is true that everybody that is on this Affordable Care Act, that the true cost, cost to the taxpayer, is over $5 million for each person, then shame on us. For not knowing, asking, and understanding," Sessions added.
However, $108 billion divided by 12 million is only $9,000. Sessions was not reading from notes as he spoke on the floor.
Politifact recently debunked a claim from Fox News host and analyst Stuart Varney that ObamaCare will cost $50,000 per enrollee. Experts told Politifact that estimating the cost per person cannot be derived simply by dividing the overall cost from an average number of newly insured people.
Slaughter immediately dismissed the $5 million claim.
"Nobody ever paid $5 million for anybody's health care in a single year. It's the most atrocious thing I think I've heard on this floor," Slaughter said.
The New York Democrat mocked the mathematical error as House Republicans began debate on their budget for the next fiscal year.
"Mr. and Ms. America, these are the people you've entrusted your Congress to. They're the people who are writing your budget," Slaughter said.