Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brace yourself for Obamacare

     Recently, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) presented an updated cost estimate of Obamacare, and like many updated estimates before it, this one paints the long-term impact of the law in a much less favorable light then was originally promised by its supporters.
    While we already know that the long-term cost of the bill will add enormously to the national debt, two findings in particular are troubling.
    We are now learning that more workers will lose their existing employer insurance coverage than originally thought and more people will remain uninsured, even under the dramatic coverage and cost expansion the law creates.
    In 2010, the CBO estimated that about 3 million people would lose their employment-based coverage, but updated estimates find that it will be 7 million. While a number of factors come into play here, one key reason for the change is that there has been “increased employer responsiveness to alternative options. In other words, employers are discovering that they would rather pay a $2,000 fine to the government instead of subsidizing their employees’ plans, which would cost them about $10,000 for a family policy.  If this trend continues, the overall cost of the bill will swell exponentially when it is implemented.
    We have long known that millions of people would remain uninsured under Obamacare, but the total estimated number continues to increase. Currently there are about 48 million Americans uninsured. In 2010 the CBO estimated that under Obamacare that number would decrease to about 20 million uninsured by 2016, but new projections show that number will be closer to 30 million. This increase can be attributed partially to the Supreme Court ruling that states could not be forced to expand their Medicaid programs.
    Regardless, things are not heading in the right direction.
    As this law is implemented, its problems will become clear to opponents and supporters alike. Until then, I will continue to register my disapproval and work to return health care decisions back into the hands of patients, families, and doctors.
U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson

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