ObamaCare repeal will not result in people dying in the streets

The Congressional Budget Office is out today with its doom and gloom projections of what would happen if ObamaCare is repealed:

The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill. Later, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026.

B Premiums in the nongroup market (for individual policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers) would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent—relative to projections under current law—in the first new plan year following enactment. The increase would reach about 50 percent in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the marketplace subsidies, and premiums would about double by 2026.

One problem with this is that it is based on a law proposed a year ago that would repeal mandates and penalties under the law, but would leave in place so-called insurance market reforms, such as barring insurers from varying premiums based on an individual’s health care costs, requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and requiring coverage of things like maternity care.

The CBO itself noted: “The number of people without health insurance would be smaller if, in addition to the changes in H.R. 3762, the insurance market reforms mentioned above were also repealed. In that case, the increase in the number of uninsured people would be about 21 million in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies; that figure would rise to about 23 million in 2026.”
Another problem with the projection is that CBO projections about ObamaCare have been remarkably inaccurate.
For example, the CBO 2010 projection of ObamaCare enrollment in 2016 overshot the mark by 120 percent, according to Forbes, and the CBO projected the Medicaid expansion would be much smaller and less expensive than it really is.
Cato’s Michael Tanner notes that ObamaCare’s health insurance coverage expansion was mostly due to Medicaid expansion and not through subsidies for private insurance.
Having insurance doesn’t necessarily mean having health care.
“There is ample evidence to suggest that Medicaid provides little if any benefit,” Tanner writes. “One notable experiment in Oregon found no improvements in health outcomes from Medicaid enrollment. But regardless, repeal of ObamaCare is unlikely to have any short-term impact on Medicaid.”
Tanner concludes:

The only workable answer is to take otherwise uninsurable people out of the traditional insurance market altogether and subsidize their coverage separately.

This may be done through the expansion and subsidy of state high-risk pools, much the way states handle auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Or sick individuals may be taken out of the insurance system altogether, with their health care paid for through a reformed Medicaid program.

However these changes play out, it’s important to realize that no one is going to have their health insurance suddenly snatched away. Some people may have to get their health care in different ways, and some, who can afford it, may have to pay more.

But the predictions that replacing ObamaCare will mean uninsured Americans dropping dead in the street are worth little more than fake news.

Don’t buy the vision of people dying in the streets.

Ramirez cartoon

Ramirez cartoon

9 comments on “ObamaCare repeal will not result in people dying in the streets

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Your statement,”having insurance doesn’t necessarily mean having health care” is meaningful but you could have said “having insurance doesn’t necessarily mean having good health”. Unlimited coverage can’t stave off deadly illnesses, crippling diseases, human conditions, and aging. (I’m more than familiar with the latter.) Government has been pushing for single payer for decades, even before Hillary Clinton’s 1993 plan foreshadowing Obamacare but he had no more to do with writing that than I did, it was a gimmick to name it, albeit informally, after him. It was always about single payer and a flow of money to Washington.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Would the vision (and the reality) affect any conclusions about whether its a good idea to repeal the ACA?

  3. Rincon says:

    Mitch McConnell would have 18 million people go without insurance, but by God, these coal miners will be cared for, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Nothing like being consistent.


  4. Steve says:

    “Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced legislation to maintain health benefits for retired union coal miners whose companies have declared bankruptcy in recent years.”

    “Later Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Manchin and his home-state Republican colleague, Shelley Moore Capito, reintroduced a broader measure that would not only address the health care shortfall but also the more expensive pension issue.”

    Rincon should try reading past the headline.

  5. Rincon says:

    I didn’t fail to read past the headline. You failed to consider the obvious: The Democrats aren’t trying to throw 18 million people out of their health insurance.

  6. Steve says:

    Neither are the Republicans.

    The article you present doesn’t even show McConnell trying to throw mama off the cliff.
    In fact, it shows a real effort to save UNION deals made way back in Truman’s day.

    Your whole post actually supports the plans being offered by the incoming administration and the Republicans.

  7. Barbara says:

    The CBO is scoring a fake repeal of Obamacare proposed by Republicans. In reality the above plan repeals the funding mechanisms (individual mandate and subsidies) of Obamacare but not its regulations (mandated benefits, guarantee issue, community rating, mandated providers, limiting actuarial scoring, etc.) It is no wonder that under this plan premiums would increase causing more to become uninsured and further insolvency of the insurance companies.

    As David Horowitz writes in Conservative Review:

    ” Affordable health care: repeal, reform, and restore

    “The primary focus of conservative health care reform should therefore be centered on countermanding those odious price-hiking regulations and interventions, while keeping government spending on health care to as little as politically feasible.”

    “The absolute worst thing for Republicans to do is to maintain the pre-existing condition mandate, in effect, “replacing Obamacare with Obamacare.” This is what makes insurance so costly for everyone.”

    “Instead, Republicans should be focused on reforming the entire system and restoring the free market. Republicans should work on lowering the costs for those who want to purchase insurance on their own, and that will help expand coverage. Also, equal tax treatment for the individual and employment markets, eliminating the anti-trust exemption for insurance, coupled with expanded HSAs and breaking down cross-state insurance barriers, will make insurance portable, affordable, and foster more options and competition. It will further incentivize healthy consumers to take responsibility for their own health insurance, shop wisely, not over utilize and distort pricing, which in itself will reduce the inflationary pressure and create numerous cheaper options for a variety of coverage plans. This will limit the scope of the pre-existing condition problem and shore up more funds to deal with the minimized scope of the problem.”

    “Coupled with numerous supply side fixes, such as tort reform, breaking down onerous FDA regulations on drugs and devices, cutting regulations on telemedicine and scope of practice for health care extenders, updating rules on medical accreditation, allowing doctors to write off the cost of indigent care, and giving hospitals authority to turn away illegal immigrants with non-urgent care will go a long way in reducing the actual cost of health care. This, in turn, will take pressure off the need for third and fourth party payer and help restore insurance to its original purpose.”

    Republicans have campaigned on and raised money on a promise to repeal Obamacare. It is beginning to look like a “bait and switch” routine instead of the promised full repeal.

  8. Rincon says:

    The hope is that, now that Obamacare has overcome 50 years of inertia, there will be no going back to the old system. Now that we’ve gotten people used to the idea that everyone should be insured AND pay for it, it’s time to focus on reducing costs. The Republicans have a golden opportunity to advance our health care system to the level of other first world nations. Let’s hope they don’t blow it as they have so often in the past.

  9. Steve says:

    Hopefully, we will be able to delete our accounts at some point in the coming months.

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