Obamacare: More Cost, Less Coverage

Seven million fewer people than predicted will have health care coverage a decade after Obamacare’s passage, admits the Congressional Budget Office. One reason “is that millions of Americans are expected to lose their employer-based coverage, a point” The Wall Street Journal emphasizes in this story.

The CBO has long said it expects the new federal health law will prompt some companies to drop millions of employees from health plans because workers have new options to buy insurance on their own. In August, CBO put the number at 4 million over 10 years. Now it’s 7 million.

Another factor is “rapidly increasing health insurance premiums” because of Obamacare. “As Politico reported, some populations could see premiums triple.” For example, the “federal health care law could nearly triple premiums for some young and healthy men, according to a forthcoming survey of insurers that singles out a group that might become a major public opinion battleground in the Obamacare wars. The survey . . . found that if the law’s insurance rules were in force, the premium for a relatively bare-bones policy for a 27-year-old male nonsmoker on the individual market would be nearly 190 percent higher.”

The cost to taxpayers of Obamacare exchanges is up by 29 percent even before the program starts: “The projected cost of the subsidies for the exchanges has increased by about 29 percent between the 2010 assessment and this week’s, from an average of $3,970 per enrollee to $5,510. This means the ’10-year cost of Obamacare’s insurance subsidies offered via the health law’s exchanges [has increased] by $233 billion,’ says John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily.” Reason‘s Nick Gillespie quotes Merline further:

The CBO’s new baseline estimate shows that ObamaCare subsidies offered through the insurance exchanges — which are supposed to be up and running by next January — will total more than $1 trillion through 2022, up from $814 billion over those same years in its budget forecast made a year ago…

Last year, the CBO said the average exchange subsidy for those getting federal help when ObamaCare goes into effect next year would be $4,780. Its latest estimate raised that to $5,510 — a 15% increase. All these numbers are up even more from the CBO’s original forecast made in 2010, which had the first-year subsidy average at $3,970.

Obamacare will wipe out many jobs through its medical device tax, which already has triggered layoffs. Even liberal Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) called it a “job-killing tax” that will “impair American competitiveness.” Employers are also cutting full-time workers and replacing them with part-time workers to avoid costly Obamacare mandates that apply to full-time employees. Obamacare will reduce employment by an additional 800,000 because of work-punishing income-cliffs for health care tax credits. Obamacare contains racially discriminatory provisions and racial preferences that were criticized by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. It will reduce life-saving medical innovation. It raises taxes starting this year on investors, including, but not limited to, a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment earnings for households earning more than $250,000 per year.