Friday, February 8, 2013

Congressional Budget Office: Obamacare To Cost More, To Be More Disruptive, and To Be More Difficult to Implement

And thick and fast they came at last –
And more, and more, and more.
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1908),  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
February 9, 2012 -  Obamacare has always had an Alice in Wonderland feel to it.  
Obamacare was going to provide more care for more people with more quality  with more and better outcomes at lower costs more efficiently, courtesy of Washington.. 
Federal experts, after all, designed it, and as we all know, experts know more and more about less and less until they know nothing about everything, including the 1.4 billion health care transactions that occur every year in the U.S. health system at a cost of $2.8 trillion.   Presumably increasing costs  will go on until there isn’t any more in the Federal Treasury or the Taxpayers’ pockets, or Medicare/Medicaid go bankrupt.
But as the experts hop through the frothy waves  towards the shores of 2014,  when Obamacare takes effect in earnest, it is apparent the government is scrambling  to meet its promised targets of more and more and more.
According to the Washington Post,  “Signing  up an estimated 30 million Americans for coverage under the health care law is shaping up to be, if not a nightmare, a daunting  task.”  Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal,  says it may even be more than that - a “blob, a mess, a morass, “ and “we are only in the foothills of Obamacare.”
In any event,  Obamacare sounded too good to be true, and it may be.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, who keeps tabs on what Congress spends, Obamacare will be:
·         More expensive – the 10 year subsidy cost will be $233 billion,  not $201 billion (up 15.9%); the total cost through 2022 will be $1.05 trillion,  not $814 billion (up 28.9%); and the average subsidy for the uninsured or underinsured will be $5510, not $3970 (up 38.8%), and we haven’t even reached shore yet.

·         More disruptive – The Congressional Budget Office  has raised the estimate of the number of workers employers will drop from health care  coverage from 4 million to 7 million,  an increase of 75%.

·         More difficult to implement -  The CBO isn’t buying the Obama administration’s argument that the health exchanges will be ready to go in 2014.  It says the administration  has no idea how many people will enroll in the exchanges, whether the exchanges will be prepared to accept them, and how people will respond.  Then there’s the reluctance of Republican governors to set up their own exchanges, and the historical fact that after Medicaid was introduced in 1965, it took nearly 20 years for the last holdout state to join  the Medicaid program.

Tweet: Come 2014,  the CBO says exchanges won’t be ready for new Medicaid recipients  to enroll, and people won’t be enthusiastic about signing up.


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