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Another Broken Obamacare Promise. And This One is . . . Costly

Remember all that stuff about Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, not only costing nothing, but actually helping improve the budget deficit? That not only was it a free lunch, but it would provide portions of breakfast and dinner too?

Well, as I’ve explained before, Obamacare never really helped the budget, because all the cuts and taxes assessed to finance it became unavailable in the future to help alleviate the deficit.

But as Social Security and Medicare Trustee Chuck Blahous writes in the Weekly Standard, it is now clear that Obamacare is not going to provide any part of dinner or breakfast, and further, it’s going to start stealing off your lunch plate.

That is, as I and I’m sure most of you expected, this monstrous new welfare program is going to start adding to the deficit.

According to Blahous:

CBO currently estimates that the ACA’s coverage provisions will cost the federal government $92 billion a year by FY2015. This is roughly 0.5 percent of projected U.S. economic output for 2015, well exceeding the relative costs of Social Security and Medicaid at similar points in their histories . . .

CBO projects that its annual costs will hit $200 billion by FY2020, or nearly 0.9 percent of GDP. Yet this assumes that lawmakers will be content to allow the ACA’s health insurance subsidies to grow more slowly than low-income beneficiaries’ health care costs, as the law now stipulates.

Thus there is every reason to believe that the ACA’s eventual costs will far exceed initial estimates, as happened with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The administration is ditching unworkable and politically touchy “pay-fors.”

No sooner was the ink dry on the ACA than the law’s various “pay-fors” began to be tossed overboard, one after the other. The ACA’s CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, a long-term care program) was financially unsound from the beginning, had to be suspended a little over one year later, and was eventually repealed.

The original CBO score had assumed that CLASS would provide $86 billion of net financing for the ACA over the first 10 years.

Roughly $100 billion of financing in that first decade was also to come from penalties on individuals (for failing to carry health insurance) and employers (for failing to offer it). But the Obama administration has repeatedly postponed enforcement. Unsurprisingly, there is now a campaign to abandon the individual mandate penalty altogether, despite advocates having previously touted it as essential to the workings of the ACA.

The administration has also been dropping cuts to Medicare Advantage required under the ACA, with the costs of these decisions still unknown.

There doesn’t seem to be political will to stave off future cost increases either.

After shaking a favorable score out of CBO in 2010 based on the assumption that the law would be enforced as written, Democrats now exhibit little motivation to follow through with its most politically radioactive savings measures.

There is little reason to suppose that provisions looming on the horizon, such as the tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans and the decisions of the Independ-ent Payment Advisory Board, will be enforced any more diligently than others have been to date.

Why? In part, Blahous explains, because Democrats rammed this lemon through without bothering to corral any Republican support. So unlike with past social programs that have been passed bipartisanly, Republicans have no skin in the game and therefore no appetite to try to help out by voting for unpalatable tax increases or spending cuts.

And Democrats don’t want to go it alone.

I would add to this that Obama decided to pass sweeping legislation that lacked, and has always lacked, popular support. Even now that we know what’s in it, a discovery Nancy Pelosi famously thought would make us love the law.

What it means is that even the “good part” of all this – the law and its benefits – is disliked. So, good luck trying to pass the bad part – that is, the things we need to do to pay for it.

If only peasants like you and me would see the wisdom of Obama and Ezekiel Emanuel and Kathleen Sebelius. We’d give our right kidneys to make this work.

And once the quality of health care begins to decline under the law, that’s exactly what we might be doing.

17 Responses to Another Broken Obamacare Promise. And This One is . . . Costly

  1. Obamacare is the work of the Devil himself.

    And no, in writing that, I am not trying to equate Obama to Satan. I’d like to think I have more common sense than to levy an insult of that magnitude against Satan.

    For those of you who know a thing or two about tarot, the Democrats have built the legislative equivalent of The Tower. We can only hope, for the sake of human freedom, that once it comes down, that it will take its builders along with it.

    I pray that a century hence, that every American know the full extent of the evils of this demonic law. Let it be remembered as the ne plus ultra of the hubris of the American Left, the ultimate overreach which finally brought about the downfall of this evil, evil, evil ideology.

  2. Interestingly, I received a letter from my Medicare supplemental insurer yesterday that included a check–a “rebate” for my coverage due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act. Seems that my insurer did not meet the “Medical Loss Ratio” in my state. In other words, they didn’t spend at least 80% of the premiums they received on health care services.

    My rebate? $2.55!! Wow. Maybe I can get a burrito at Taco Bell for lunch tomorrow. Very impressive.

    • I wonder how much it cost your insurer to issue you the check.

      Remember Lindy, MOOCHelle says you had better eat healthy so be careful or the next thing you know an amendment to ACA will include a stipulation that no rebate check can be used for anything other than what the government says it can be used for.

      • Now they are going to give incentives to buy healthier food with your food stamps…movie tickets. Hmm wonder if the coke and popcorn will be eligible for purchase with the food stamps?

      • Elaine, I thought of the cost to cut that paltry check being more than the check was worth. Before changing my career path and ultimate retirement I was an accountant.

        You mean a burrito isn’t healthy food?

        • Don’t get your hopes up. If the Republicans were serious about repealing it then they would be addressing that on a daily basis. You know in your heart it is here to stay and we all know, honestly, that it is the precursor to the federal government’s complete control over us.

      • It can happen.

        There’s actually been discussion in Montgomery County, Maryland, about doing away with, or at least scaling back, the bag tax. It hasn’t gotten all the way to full repeal just yet, but it has been kicked around, and in a Navy-blue jurisdiction like Montgomery County, no less. The idea was to reduce the use of plastic bags, not raise revenue–or so they said–and since it was bringing in more money than they expected, the county council was looking at scaling back the nickel-a-bag tax.

        Taxes can be eliminated. And to be candid, I thoroughly expect several of them to bite the dust once the GOP has full control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

  3. President Obama is a prime example of what happens when you give someone with no executive experience the reins of a national government. Pres. Obama is a slick talker who got promoted well past his zone of incompetence and now we’re all paying for it. He wasn’t ready for the job of President in 2008 and now, even after over 5 years of OJT he’s STILL not ready for prime time.

  4. From March 21, 2010 when the monster was birthed:

    “It is a sad day indeed when two activist, liberal politicians can pass off as “reform” the largest government power grab in American history.

    IF only Pelosi and Obama had delivered real healthcare reform tonight, the cause for celebration across the country would indeed be universal.

    So as it is, please forgive me if I don’t join the celebration.

    To say that I’m going to be commiserating the death of democracy tonight may sound a bit dramatic.

    BUT, it does not bode well for the future of this republic that the mainstream media allowed the truth to be so obfuscated just so the darling of their dreams would not look weak.

    Until now, this country has withstood every attack thrown against her. Whether she can now survive this threat from within has an ending not yet known.

    The only thing that is known this evening is we have arrived at a crossroads.

    Will we continue this march to entitlements, which will most certainly end in economic bankruptcy and social ruin?

    Or will enough Americans finally awake from this nightmare and turn back what has become an assault on personal liberties and founding principles more dangerous than any assault from afar.

    I know which path I’m choosing, which one will you?………

    Well we’re 4 years into that future and it’s looking darker and darker. WHEN will the media stand up and do their job and quit protecting those who put power and party over the wishes of the people?

    • Question of privacy is what O told the Governers of the states dealing with the invasion of people walking over the border.
      The Governers are being stomped upon.
      Democracy: He may has well have told the Governers go back to your room, I am handling everything.

  5. Isn’t this kinda stale news–that it won’t lower the av fam’s medical expenses $2500 a yr etc. I heard last nite about some couple who got their new copay–$8500 each! Yipes.