Monday, April 11, 2016

Obamacare: to cost more and cover fewer people.

ObamaCare Will Cost $136 Bil More, Cover Fewer People Than We Thought, CBO Says

Health Reform: ObamaCare has been taking lots of hits lately, but a new report from the Congressional Budget Office is a gut punch. It shows that ObamaCare’s outlook has worsened considerably as fewer people sign up and costs rise more than expected.
To little fanfare and virtually no media coverage, the Congressional Budget Office sharply downgraded its forecast for ObamaCare in its latest report, issued in late March. By just about every measure, things are looking worse than they did a year ago.
EDIT3-ch-040816First, the CBO has cut enrollment goals for the ObamaCare exchanges. Its March 2015 report projected that enrollment would top out at 22 million. Now it puts the ceiling at 18 million. And given ObamaCare’s track record so far, even that’s optimistic.
Lower enrollment numbers should mean lower taxpayer costs, since fewer people will be getting taxpayer-subsidized insurance. But higher-than-expected insurance subsidies are soaking up much of those savings.
Last year, CBO projected that the average subsidy would be $4,040. Turns out, it was $4,240. CBO now thinks subsidies will average $4,550 next year instead of $4,250. That is likely a reflection of the fact that premiums leapt upward this year, and are likely to make another big jump for next year.
As a result, even though the CBO expects that 4 million fewer people will be getting insurance subsidies in 2024, the total cost of those subsidies paid out that year will stay exactly the same: $99 billion.
ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is also turning out to be far more expensive than planned, forcing the CBO to hike its 10-year Medicaid cost projection by $146 billion. That’s largely the result of far more people signing up for Medicaid — 2 to 4 million more — than the CBO had previously expected.
In addition, far more workers will find themselves without employer-provided benefits than promised. In its initial report on ObamaCare in 2010, CBO said 3 million workers at most would lose their employer health benefits because of the law. Last year it claimed that 7 million will have lost workplace coverage in a decade. Now it says 9 million will likely be forced off employer plans.
And what about the uninsured? When Democrats shoved ObamaCare onto President Obama’s desk in 2010, the public was told that it would cut the number of uninsured by 32 million. That number has since dropped 25%.
Looked at another way, ObamaCare is now slated to spend $1.94 trillion over the next decade, and yet still leave one in 10 Americans without insurance.
Oh, and the revenues from ObamaCare taxes will be lower than expected over the next decade, either because they just aren’t producing as hoped, or because the White House has delayed various taxes for political reasons. CBO says the employer mandate will raise $12 billion less than they said last year, the individual mandate penalty $6 billion less, and the Cadillac tax $28 billion less.
(The combination of higher costs and lower revenues, by the way, means those promises about how ObamaCare would not add a dime to the deficit have also proved unreliable.)
Repealing ObamaCare wouldn’t mean forcing millions off insurance. What it would do is create the opportunity to enact free-market reforms that would actually deliver on ObamaCare’s promise of lower costs and expanded coverage.
Hopefully, voters will understand this when they cast their ballots in November.

No comments: