CBO: Obamacare Costs Dropping

Lower enrollment because of the HealthCare.gov rollout will save the government money.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the troubled launch of the Healthcare.gov website October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The federal healthcare insurance exchange site has been plagued by problems since its launch on October 1. 
National Journal
Clara Ritger
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
March 5, 2014, 1:32 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
SANDERS UP TEN POINTS
Trump Leads Tightly Packed Group Vying for Second
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

In one of the last surveys before New Hampshirites actually vote, a Monmouth poll has Donald Trump with a big edge on the Republican field. His 30% leads a cluster of rivals in the low-to-mid teens, including John Kasich (14%), Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (13% each) and Ted Cruz (12%). On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 52%-42%.

Source:
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
‘HERMETICALLY SEALED’
Bill Goes on the Offensive Against Bernie
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

“Bill Clinton uncorked an extended attack on … Bernie Sanders on Sunday, harshly criticizing” the senator “and his supporters for what he described as inaccurate and ‘sexist’ attacks on Hillary Clinton. ‘When you’re making a revolution you can’t be too careful with the facts,’ … Clinton said. … The former president … portrayed his wife’s opponent … as hypocritical, ‘hermetically sealed’ and dishonest.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
×