The Obama administration, citing an economic downturn that has been deeper than it had first thought, raised its estimate on Tuesday of the government’s deficit over the next decade to $9 trillion from $7.1 trillion.
The Office of Management and Budget also said that it expected the economy to contract 2.8 percent this year, substantially more than previously estimated, and that employment would peak at around 10 percent.
Despite the budget shortfall, White House officials said they saw no reason to back away from President Obama’s ambitious and costly goal of overhauling the health care system. The new amount includes the cost of the health care overhaul as well as about $600 billion in additional revenue that the administration hopes to raise, two initiatives Congress has yet to approve.
“I know there are going to be some who say that this report proves that we can’t afford health reform,” said Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. But he said the opposite was true: the only way to control spiraling Medicare costs, he said, was to get control of overall health care costs by overhauling the system.