Monday, July 7, 2014

Some unpleasant Obamacare arithmetic

About those chickens coming home to roost, from Chuck Blahous;
The ACA [Obamacare] was enacted in 2010 with the promise of reducing the federal budget deficit while expanding health insurance coverage. Nearly lost amid the recent press cheerleading over ACA enrollment figures is that this promise has disintegrated, and now no one—including, notably, the Congressional Budget Office—can say how much fiscal damage the ACA will ultimately cause. All we know for certain is that many of the savings provisions designed to pay for it have been shelved thus far.
So don't expect the millionaire next door to pay for your healthcare;
CBO currently estimates that the ACA’s coverage provisions will cost the federal government $92 billion a year by FY2015. This is roughly 0.5 percent of projected U.S. economic output for 2015, well exceeding the relative costs of Social Security and Medicaid at similar points in their histories. (The amount falls just short of the proportion of GDP absorbed by all of early Medicare.) Worse, the federal fiscal position was far weaker when the ACA was passed than when Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were created.
Troubling though the ACA’s startup costs are, they represent only the tip of the fiscal iceberg that will be the fully phased-in law. CBO projects that its annual costs will hit $200 billion by FY2020, or nearly 0.9 percent of GDP. Yet this assumes that lawmakers will be content to allow the ACA’s health insurance subsidies to grow more slowly than low-income beneficiaries’ health care costs, as the law now stipulates. Thus there is every reason to believe that the ACA’s eventual costs will far exceed initial estimates, as happened with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
But the ACA is ON TOP OF those financial disasters--the federal govt. is literally trillions of dollars short of the funds needed to meet its promises to future beneficiaries. The people who created those promises are now mostly dead, and immune from retribution from the disappointed electorate. Obamacare's architects, not so much;
The ACA’s partisan origins have left lawmakers with vastly reduced incentives to achieve the budgetary savings required to make its finances work. Republicans, who saw the law enacted over their strenuous opposition, are unmotivated to support implementation of the ACA’s controversial tax increases, penalties, and Medicare cuts. This leaves Democrats, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, with sole political ownership of these aspects of the law.  
Call it Nancy Pelosi's Christmas present to the Democrat party.

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