Democrats Tout Lackluster CBO Obamacare Report as Evidence of Success

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that health insurance costs will continue to rise under Obamacare while offering individuals fewer choices of doctors and lower reimbursement rates than employer-sponsored insurance plans.

Democrats attempted to present portions of the report detailing slight downward revisions of costs as evidence Obamacare will produce lower health insurance costs. However, as Deputy Chief of Staff for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Don Stewart told the Wall Street Journal, "'Lower than expected' is still not the same as 'lower.' Costs and premiums are still going up." 

Experts also point out that prices will largely hinge on the mix of healthy patients enrolled, a demographic metric that remains uncertain. 

"It's hard to say whether the 2014 rates anticipated the current age and health-mix of enrollees," said SSR Health analyst Richard Evans. "Our guess is that the premiums will be too low for the issuers to earn a sustainable margin."

The CBO report cautions on that very point. 

"If enrollees in exchange plans in 2014 are significantly less healthy than insurers had expected, and their care therefore is significantly more costly, insurers could project notably higher costs in 2015 and charge correspondingly higher premiums in 2015 than in 2014," the report stated.

Other low-lights from the report include: 

  • "Over the course of calendar year 2014, an average of 6 million people will be covered by insurance obtained through the exchanges."
  • "In 2024, 31 million people, or roughly one in nine non-elderly U.S. residents, will be without health insurance."
  • The federal government will bag "$456 billion in receipts from penalty payments, additional revenues resulting from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans, and the effects on income and payroll tax revenues and associated outlays arising from projected changes in employer coverage."

Obamacare remains deeply unpopular. According to the USA Today/Pew Research poll, just 37% of Americans now support Obamacare.


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