Obamacare’s most expensive provisions will cost about $9 billion less than expected, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
CBO said the law’s coverage provisions — a set of policies that includes the law’s insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion — will cost the federal government about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
The latest analysis doesn’t cover the whole law, and CBO reiterated that it expects the law to reduce the federal deficit. Tuesday’s analysis was confined to the law’s coverage provisions, and didn’t include Medicare savings or new taxes on drug and medical-device companies, which offset the costs of expanding coverage.
The $1.5 trillion spending estimate is about $9 billion lower than estimates from last year, due in part to CBO’s estimate that roughly 1 million fewer people will obtain health insurance on the exchanges and 1 million fewer people will sign up for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, due to the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Among CBO’s other justifications for lowering the cost are that insurance companies priced exchange premiums lower than the agency had anticipated, and that the agency now expects to receive more from insurance companies than it will pay out in a program designed to protect insurers who get a particularly unhealthy—and expensive—mix of enrollees.
CBO estimates that 24-25 million Americans will get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges and 12-13 million Americans will gain Medicaid or CHIP coverage. But some Americans—roughly 6-7 million—will lose their employer sponsored coverage, according to the projections, as some employers and employees choose instead to seek health insurance on the exchanges.
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The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law, saying it was passed with “discriminatory intent." The decision sends the case back to the district judge who initially dismissed challenges to the law. "The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect."
An oil pipeline almost as long as the much-debated Keystone XL has won final approval to transport crude from North Dakota to Illinois, traveling through South Dakota and Iowa along the way. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the final blessing to the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday. Developers now have the last set of permits they need to build through the small portion of federal land the line crosses, which includes major waterways like the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The so-called Bakken pipeline goes through mostly state and private land."
The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.2% in the second quarter, "well below the 2.6% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast." Consumer spending was "robust," but it was offset by "cautious" business investment. "Since the recession ended seven years ago, the expansion has failed to achieve the breakout growth seen in past recoveries. "The average annual growth rate during the current business cycle, 2.1%, remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader in waiting, not only thinks his party will take the Senate this fall, but that it's on the cusp of an era of "electoral dominance." He told Politico: “We’re going to have a Democratic generation. [President Barack Obama] helped create it. But it’s just where America’s moving demographically, ideologically and in every way. We’ll have a mandate to get something done.”
"Vice President Joe Biden will appear in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that will mention the backlog of untested rape kits in many cities, as well as efforts to end violence against women—an issue close to Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994." He'll be in New York to tape the episode today.