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The Congressional Budget Office is out today with its doom and gloom projections of what would happen if ObamaCare is repealed: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would be smaller if, in addition to the changes in H.R. 3762, the insurance market reforms mentioned above were also repealed.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

Andy Capp Nation: Incentivized to stay on the dole

It pays to work, but it just might pay more to go on the dole permanently, especially in Nevada.

Perhaps, that is one reason Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

Andy Capp on the dole and the pint.

The Cato Institute has compiled a 52-page report titled “The Work vs. Welfare Trade-Off: 2013.” It details state by state what one can be paid for working and from the panoply of welfare benefits, if one were take adavantage of everything from food stamps, to housing assistance to Medicaid to tax credits. Cato’s Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes calculate welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states.

The incentive to choose the dole over work is even higher since the Obama administration told states they could waive work requirements contained in a 1996 law signed by Bill Clinton.

Cato’s analysis found that in Nevada — where the minimum wage of $8.25 an hour is a dollar higher than the federal minimum — a person on welfare could rake in the equivalent of $14.34 an hour, the 14th highest in the nation. A Nevadan drawing a full boat of welfare benefits could fetch 91.3 of the state’s median wage, not the minimum that a low skill person could expect, but the median of all those employed, the 15th highest in the nation.

The residents of eight states can get paid more than 100 percent of those states’ median income.

Nevada’s welfare benefits puts one at 160.8 percent of the poverty level. Only eight states have welfare benefits that leave someone at less than 100 percent of the poverty level.

Thanks to Cato’s Dan Mitchell for the heads up on the report.

What one could get paid per hour drawing all available welfare benefits.

What one could get paid per hour drawing all available welfare benefits.

Welfare as a percent of media income.

Welfare as a percent of media income.