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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office doesn't expect much from House Democrats' plan to temporarily expand health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The big picture: According to CBO's estimates, Democrats' proposals would cover fewer than 2 million uninsured Americans — at a cumulative cost of over $50 billion.

Details: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee want to make more people eligible for the ACA's premium subsidies and increase the value of those subsidies for people who already get them. Both changes would be temporary.

  • Those changes would cover about 1.3 million uninsured people next year, CBO projects, and would end up costing the federal government about $34 billion.
  • Offering full subsidies to people receiving unemployment benefits would cost another $4.5 billion. And people wouldn't have to pay back excess subsidies from last year, adding another $6.3 billion.
  • Separately, Democrats' plan to subsidize COBRA benefits would cover about 600,000 otherwise uninsured Americans, along with over 1.6 million more who would have otherwise had some other form of coverage, at a cost of $7.8 billion.

By the numbers: That comes out to nearly $53 billion, for a set of policies that would, per CBO's estimates, cover 800,000 uninsured Americans this year, 1.3 million in 2022 and 400,000 in 2023, before phasing out.

Our thought bubble ... This does not seem like a particularly efficient, or even effective, way to achieve Democrats' primary goal: Offering a bridge to the millions of people who lost their health insurance when they or their family members lost their jobs amid the pandemic.

Go deeper

Feb 15, 2021 - Health

Biden reopens federal health insurance marketplace for 3 months

Biden on the White House lawn on Feb. 12. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden reopened the federal health insurance marketplace on Monday for three months, citing the importance of access to health care when more than 1 out of every 12 Americans has been infected with the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Nearly 15 million Americans are uninsured at the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

California governor declares drought emergency in most counties

A sign in April on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California's Kern County, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley, after historically low winter rainfall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.

Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.

2 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis escalates after Hamas and Israel trade rocket fire

Israeli air strikes in the southern Gaza Strip on May 10. Photo: Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Nine children were among 20 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes after Hamas fired dozens of rockets at Jerusalem for the first time since 2014 Monday, per AP and Reuters.

The big picture: The rockets come after escalating violence in Jerusalem has injured 250 Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes that began Friday.