The process of finding out just what’s in Obamacare continues!
According to a new government report, it turns out that more people than first expected will end up getting healthcare through the subsidized insurance exchanges and Medicaid rather than through their employers:
In the original analysis of the impact of the legislation, CBO and JCT estimated that, on balance, the number of people obtaining coverage through their employer would be about 3 million lower in 2019 under the legislation than under prior law. As reflected in CBO’s latest baseline projections, the two agencies now anticipate that, because of the ACA, about 3 million to 5 million fewer people, on net, will obtain coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022 than would have been the case under prior law.
The results acknowledge that if a business chooses not to offer insurance coverage under the ACA, some workers might enroll in Medicaid or CHIP or be eligible to receive subsidies through the insurance exchanges. And as a result, the cost of those programs would increase.
Right now, the updated baseline CBO forecast sees the gross cost of Obamacare through 2022 as $1.8 trillion, a number which includes this new estimate of employee coverage. When you include new taxes, the net cost is $1.3 trillion. (Back in 2010, the ten-year, gross cost was a mere $940 billion, as the bill was structured to back end spending. But now instead of six years of spending estimates, we have nine.)
But under one CBO-JCT scenario, the gross costs through 2022 could be $2.1 trillion if even more businesses than expected decide not to offer health insurance and more people need government subsidized coverage.
But no worry, say the government bean counters, $386 billion in addition taxes (for a total of $895 billion) will cover the difference. First, there would be higher penalty payments by employers and individuals. Second, since health benefits are generally not taxed but wages and salaries are, a shift in the mix of compensation would raise federal revenues.
The discovery process continues …