March 18, 2010 11:26AM

Yet. Another. Fraudulent. Cost Estimate.

House Democrats claim that a not‐​yet‐​released Congressional Budget Office report puts the cost of their revised health care overhaul at $940 billion over the next 10 years.

Though I have yet to see the CBO score, I’ll bet anyone a fancy lunch that it does not claim the legislation would cost the federal government just $940 billion from 2010 through 2019.

As former Congressional Budget Office director Donald Marron has explained over and over, the figure that Democrats consistently cite for the cost of their bills is only the CBO’s estimate of the cost of federal spending related to the expansion of health insurance coverage. It is not the full cost to the federal government, because each bill also spends taxpayer dollars on other items.

Marron examined the CBO’s March 11 score of the bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve, and found an additional $96 billion of spending over 10 years. If the most recent iteration of ObamaCare is similar, then new federal spending in that bill would be approximately $1.036 trillion — pushing the total over the president’s spending target.

Anyone care to take me up on that fancy‐​lunch wager?

Moreover, the on‐​budget costs of the legislation probably account for only 40 percent of the total costs. The other 60 percent come from the private‐​sector mandates. But Democrats have systematically suppressed any estimates of those hidden taxes, probably because such an estimate would reveal the full cost of the legislation to be closer to $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

It has been 272 days since Democrats introduced the first complete version of the president’s health plan. We still haven’t seen an honest cost estimate.