Roughly 1 million more people would forgo health insurance this year if Obamacare’s individual-mandate penalty were delayed, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
House Republicans last week unveiled a proposal to shift back by one year the implementation of the tax penalties for consumers who choose not to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to purchase health insurance. The House is scheduled to vote on the proposal Wednesday, and Republicans have the votes they need to pass it.
According to CBO’s new cost-benefit analysis of the legislation, delaying the individual-mandate penalty would save the federal government some $9.5 billion over the next decade, due to lower enrollment in Medicaid and decreased spending on health insurance tax credits made available to consumers who purchase coverage on the law’s exchanges.
Of the 1 million expected to forgo coverage, CBO estimates that half would have enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP — the Children’s Health Insurance Program for low-income youth — and half would have been covered by employers or obtained insurance in the exchanges.
The measure has virtually no chance of becoming law, however, as it is likely won’t go anywhere in the Democratically controlled Senate, and it would face a near-certain veto from President Obama.