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CBO Estimates $435 Billion Deficit for 2015

October 9, 2015—The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Oct. 7 estimated the federal budget deficit in fiscal year (FY) 2015 was $435 billion – $48 billion less than the shortfall recorded in FY 2014, and the smallest deficit since 2007 relative to the size of the economy.

At an estimated 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the FY 2015 deficit was slightly below the average over the past 50 years. In addition, 2015 was the sixth consecutive year in which the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP since peaking at 9.8 percent in 2009.

By CBO’s estimate, revenues were about 8 percent higher and outlays were about 5 percent higher in 2015 than they were in the previous fiscal year. CBO’s deficit estimate is based on data from the Daily Treasury Statements; the Treasury Department will report the actual deficit for FY 2015 later this year.

CBO estimates that spending in FY 2015 was $3.685 trillion – $181 billion (5 percent) higher than FY 2014.

Spending for Medicare increased by $35 billion (7 percent). CBO states that increase resulted, in part, from the estimated 2.8 percent growth in enrollment. Higher spending in 2015 also reflects growth in the number or cost of services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries, although data are not yet available to quantify how much is attributable to changes in hospital admissions, visits to physicians, prescription drugs, or other health care services.

Outlays for Medicaid rose by $49 billion (16 percent), largely for two reasons. First, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) that led to increased enrollment were in effect for all of FY 2015, but only for the last nine months of FY 2014. Second, enrollment has steadily increased beyond the 2014 levels during FY 2015.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806