The Congressional Budget Office says the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act will lower the cost of the law... but also make it less effective
The Supreme Court's ruling upholding President Obama's health-care overhaul made the law cheaper, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday. The hitch is that the savings — tens of billions of dollars over the next decade — come primarily from the court's decision to allow states to opt out of a costly expansion of Medicaid, which will also reduce the number of uninsured people getting coverage under the law. So is ObamaCare better off, or worse? Here, a brief guide:
How much will the court's ruling save?
It's not clear yet how many states will forego an expansion of Medicaid, but GOP governors in Florida, Texas, and several other states have already said they won't participate. The non-partisan CBO says its best estimate is that enough states will likely decline the coverage, most of which would be paid for by the federal government, to reduce the net costs by 7 percent — from $1.24 trillion to $1.17 trillion over 11 years — for a total savings of $84 billion.
How many more people will remain uninsured?
Before the ruling, 33 million uninsured people were expected to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With some states opting out of the Medicaid expansion, 6 million fewer low-income Americans will get covered under the expansion, the CBO estimates. Half of them, however, should be able to buy their own policies from state-run insurance exchanges, which still leaves 3 million people uninsured, who would have been covered under Medicaid.
What if ObamaCare is repealed down the road?
Even with the law in place, 30 million Americans will remain uninsured in 2022, according to the CBO's updated projections. But without the overhaul, an estimated 60 million will be uninsured. Scrapping the law would reduce spending by $890 billion, but it would also reduce revenues by $1 trillion, adding $109 billion to federal deficits over the next decade.
Do these new projections make the law look better, or worse?
The CBO's detailed report is just a "fancy way to say that ObamaCare is going to cost more than they originally thought," says Erika Johnsen at Hot Air. Not only that, but 9 percent of companies say they'll stop offering coverage to their workers once the law takes full effect. This terrible legislation gets "even less attractive" by the day. Actually, "this is yet another reminder that the supposedly deficit-concerned Republican Party still hasn't come to grips with what the Affordable Care Act actually does," says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post: It protects more Americans with health coverage and lowers the deficit — "in part through extra taxes and fees, to be sure, but also to some extent through real cost savings. Either way, just flat-out repeal it, and the deficit goes up."
Other stories from this topic:
- The Bullpen: Why both parties should embrace ObamaCare's state exchanges
- In-depth briefing: The road ahead for ObamaCare: A guide
- The List: 4 reasons Rick Perry may regret battling ObamaCare