Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's a mess -- Obamacare.

First, Obamacare is far more expensive than was originally promoted.
The gross costs of the Obamacare law that Democrats rammed through Congress will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade — about twice the amount originally projected, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released today.Critics had said that the true 10-year cost of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation would wind up being much more than originally advertised at $940 billion. Democrats pushed the legislation through using untraditional accounting methodology, such as delaying full implementation of the law until 2014, The Washington Examiner reported.
This Heritage Foundation posting shows how it's failing in a number of its purported benefits.
On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated its score of Obamacare, announcing that the program is $48 billion cheaper than in its previous 2011 score.

The primary reason for this change is that more individuals will lose their employer-provided coverage than originally anticipated, and the government will collect $99 billion more in taxes and penalties. CBO also finds that there are more uninsured individuals.

In short, this new CBO update continues the trend of Obamacare becoming increasingly expensive and decreasingly effective with each new scoring update.

In this round, CBO announced that the individual mandate penalties will increase by one-third, or $11 billion, as more individuals choose not to purchase insurance. This is especially surprising since CBO also estimates that health insurance premiums will be cheaper in the next decade. Thus, even with cheaper premiums, fewer people will choose to acquire insurance.

CBO also finds that more employers will choose not to offer coverage. The mandate penalties on firms will increase by 18.5 percent, or $15 billion, as these firms find it more efficient to pay a penalty. The CBO also realized that small businesses have no interest in offering health care by the government’s rules. The take-up rate for the small businesses offering health care tax credits has been abysmal so far, and as a consequence CBO halved the effect of this provision.

President Obama has also recognized this failure—by doubling down and offering an expansion of this tax credit. As the CBO update shows, not only will small businesses not take up the credit, but more and more businesses will not offer health insurance at all.

Another reason that the CBO score is less is because in the CBO model when businesses no longer offer insurance, they pay employees more in wages. As a consequence, these wages are then taxed, whereas employer provided health insurance is an untaxed benefit. CBO and the Joint Tax Committee almost doubled the amount of revenue collected by the change of compensation from health insurance to taxes. Since employers are no longer offering health insurance coverage or employees no longer buying it, the government is projected to collect $80 billion more in income taxes over the next 10 years.

Higher tax receipts are only half of this story. It also costs more to cover individuals who receive subsidized insurance from the government. CBO says that because the Obama Administration is forcing insurers to cover more provisions—such as birth control—the initial per capita cost of coverage for people on the exchanges will increase.

CBO finds that overall, there are 3 million fewer people receiving employer-provided coverage, as many of these individuals and companies will choose to pay the tax penalties. There will also be 2 million fewer individuals in the exchange as some of these individuals will be covered by Medicaid or CHIP or go uninsured. The slow economic recovery will make more people eligible for Medicaid than originally anticipated.

This new scoring is simply the latest litany in the broken promises of Obamacare. So far, almost every prediction has been worse than originally estimated. Fewer people have signed up for high-risk pools, the CLASS Act was a new unfunded entitlement, and now fewer people will be covered. The legislation needs to be repealed before things get any worse.
And it's been noted one study that Obamacare was a big negative in the 2010 elections when US House Democrats lost a ton of seats and control of the US House.
A new academic study says the answer can likely be reduced to one word: Obamacare. The study, which was conducted by scholars from Dartmouth and elsewhere, finds that “supporters of health care reform paid a significant price.” The authors looked at cap and trade, the economic “stimulus,” and Obamacare, and concluded that the latter had by far the most adverse effect on Democrats’ fortunes—voters were “approximately 5 points less likely to vote for an incumbent who supported health reform than one who opposed it.”

Indeed, if “all Democrats in competitive districts [had] opposed health care reform,” that likely would have swung about 25 seats from the Republican column into the Democratic column and would have given the Democrats “a 62 percent chance of winning enough races to maintain majority control of the House.”
The question is what will happen in 2012. We shall see.

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