ObamaCare: $2 Trillion In Spending, $643M In Taxes, Insurance For $50k a Head

AP Photo/Gerry Broome
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The UK Daily Mail reports (my bold) on what it describes as “stunning” new figures from the Congressional Budget Office about the cost of ObamaCare:

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.

It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.

If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.

Those “quickly escalating penalties” would be the gigantic tax increase Barack Obama swore he’d never drop on you, Middle Class suckers. The total cost projections are right in line with what ObamaCare critics have predicted all along – not really a difficult prediction to make, because as ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber began boasting once the law was passed, its fraudulent cost projections were designed to fool the CBO into dramatically under-estimating the price tag.

Back in the days when he was looking Americans right in the eye and intoning “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Obama was laughably claiming his boondoggle would cost around $900 billion over ten years, and would not require tax increases on the sainted Middle Class. And you fell for it, Obama voters!

What merry sport you have provided for your rulers! What’s that you say – you demand a refund now that you know the whole program was a pack of lies and distortions? Sorry, little citizen, that’s not how it works. This was a one-man, one-vote, one-time kind of deal, and the one vote was cast back when you thought this turkey would shower “free” insurance upon the deserving masses at virtually zero cost, without trampling on anyone’s liberties.

Incidentally, those staggering ObamaCare costs do not include the massive out-of-pocket expenses belatedly discovered by the poor souls who actually try to use their mandate-laden ACA policies, or a huge amount of indirect cost borne by businesses (and naturally passed along to their consumers) as they scramble to comply with the mandates. And just wait until you find out how many man-hours of our valuable time are blown on dealing with the tax nightmare President Obama is bringing us this year, and every year to come! A great deal of ObamaCare’s cost was hidden this way, and it remains safely hidden for the time being.

Big Government relies heavily upon this ability to hide and disperse costs. We’re not supposed to ask if we’re getting value for money. Political control of the economy is foist upon citizens by tricking them into thinking that government can reduce cost by edict, but that’s not true. Politicians can conceal costs, or force innocent people who have done nothing wrong to carry a disproportionate share of the burden, but as these ObamaCare cost projections illustrate, such deceptions tend to increase the overall cost of whatever goods and services they seek to shower upon their favored constituents as “freebies.” Very few alternatives to ObamaCare would end up blowing fifty thousand dollars apiece to give uninsured people access to insurance that many of them can’t afford to actually use, because the out-of-pocket expenses are so high.

Distorting a sucker’s ability to perform cost-benefit analysis is the crucial skill of every huckster, from used-car salesmen to Barack Obama and Jonathan Gruber. There are two basic techniques involved: make the sucker think the cost is much lower than it will actually be, or make him think what he’s buying is so fabulously valuable that obsessing over the cost would be small-minded and nearsighted. Both techniques were employed masterfully by the ObamaCare con men. They had people believing that “uninsured Americans” represented such a massive humanitarian crisis that it had to be resolved at any cost.

It’s utter folly to fall for pitches like that. Of course the cost matters. Nothing short of survival itself is so urgent that considerations of cost should be discarded in favor of contemplating righteous purpose. Scarce resources must be allocated wisely. The time and tax money of free citizens should be treated as the scarcest resources of all. There are many things we could do better with $2 trillion in spending over the next ten years than ObamaCare. Tax relief would be high on that list, but instead we’ll be groaning under $643 billion in new taxes and fees… which are harder for us to pay, because ObamaCare has done so much damage to full-time employment.

There will be many efforts by ObamaCare apologists to spin this CBO report as less damning than it actually is. Watch out for analysis that disregards large sections of the Affordable Care Act to focus on narrow metrics that don’t look as bad, or arguments that dwell excessively upon net cost rather than total outlays and taxes. “Net cost” is a figure that conceals a massive spending program financed by enormous taxes and fees. There is nothing to boast of when discussing a program that still needs to siphon the better part of $200 billion from the general treasury – or toss that much onto the national debt pile – in the “best” years of its existence.

The CBO explains that projected net costs stop growing toward the end of its 10-year forecast “in large part because of the nature of the rules for the indexing of exchange subsidies and the high-premium  excise tax, which over time will slow the growth of gross costs and increase the growth of receipts.” In other words, we’re going to get socked by even higher taxes and fees, many of them triggered automatically. There’s not much for the middle class to celebrate about that.

As for the ostensible core mission of insuring the uninsured, few of them are covered by the ObamaCare part of ObamaCare – Medicaid welfare plans do most of the heavy lifting. We could have debated an expansion of Medicaid rationally in 2010 without all the rest of the Affordable Care Act’s baggage. CBO sees 31 million people still uninsured in 2025, which is probably a lot higher than most casual voters expected, given the big promises and fiery rhetoric about the uninsured crisis they heard.

CBO further breaks down that population as: 30 percent illegal aliens, 10 percent ineligible for Medicaid because their state didn’t expand the program, 15-20 percent who are eligible for Medicaid but choose not to enroll; and 40-45 percent who aren’t eligible for Medicaid, but also decide not to purchase actual insurance. In other words, 60 percent of the uninsured will be people who choose not to enroll for some type of coverage, and 30 percent of them will be illegal immigrants… just like skeptics of Obama’s wildly inflated estimates of the uninsured population said, years ago. There are many more sensible and affordable ways coverage could have been expanded than the gigantic, complicated, poorly-written, constitutionally dubious Affordable Care Act.

No government program is so urgently needed, so noble of intention, that it should be allowed to continue after utterly failing to meet its promises. The American people never score touchdowns these days, because the Ruling Class is able to keep moving its goalposts. Shutting ObamaCare down because it simply did not live up to its commitments would be an excellent first step for Americans to take, in reclaiming control of their destiny from the politicians who have disappointed them time and again.


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