CMS: Obamacare covers fewer than expected, drives up cost of health care

The agency that manages Obamacare the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a report comparing the projections for the law made in 2010 after the bill was passed and the reality of what has actually occurred.

Needless to say, there is a yawning chasm between what the law promised and what has been delivered.

Fortune:

Last week, the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its official estimates of the uninsured population and of health spending. And in 2014, we learned, Obamacare’s coverage expansion fell between 6 and 12 million short of expectations, while driving the growth of health spending to its highest rate in 7 years.

In 2010, when Obamacare was passed, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the law would reduce the number of uninsured in 2014 by 19 million, relative to the number of people without health insurance in 2010. By 2016, CBO estimated that 30 million fewer people would be uninsured.

Last week, CMS came to a different conclusion. According to their estimates, the number of uninsured fell by 12.6 million from 2010 to 2014. And 2010’s uninsurance rate was artificially higher due to the Great Recession; if you use 2008 as the baseline, the number of uninsured fell by only 6.7 million.

In other words, all of the disruption, spending, taxation, and premium hikes in Obamacare has only reduced the percentage of U.S. residents without health insurance by 2.7%, from 13.9% to 11.1%: a remarkably small reduction, and far lower than what the law was supposed to achieve.

And because growth in enrollment in Obamacare’s exchanges has flatlined, while premiums continue to go up, there’s little reason to believe that the ultimate reduction in the uninsured will ever reach 30 million under the law.

Going back to the Obamacare debate in 2010, I recall several experts saying that the projections of the numbers of uninsured who would take advantage of Obamacare and get covered were wacky.  But that's not the only thing that opponents successfully predicted about the law.  The increase in health care costs something the president said wouldn't happen destroys the myths about Obamacare "bending the cost curve down":

A number of Obamacare’s most partisan advocates have claimed that the law has “bent down the cost curve,” because the growth rate in U.S. health spending has been slowing since 2003. Two obvious facts eluded these advocates: first, that in 2003, George W. Bush was president, and Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois; and second, that the bulk of Obamacare only went into effect in 2014, and until last week, we didn’t have data on health spending in 2014.

These basic points have eluded columnists like New York’s Jonathan Chait, who describe skeptics of Obamacare’s health spend-lowering properties as “haters” who are a “testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of all factual evidence.”

Jon will have to include as “haters,” then, members of President Obama’s own administration. A group of economists and statisticians at CMS described the 2014 health expenditure data last week in Health Affairs. The growth rate of national health spending in 2014 was 5.3%, they found: the highest rate since 2007. “The return to faster growth,” they wrote, “was largely influenced by the coverage expansions of the Affordable Care Act.”

Spending growth was up across the board: in private health insurance (4.4%), in Medicare (5.5%), and especially in Medicaid (11.0%), which Obamacare significantly expanded.

Helluva job, Barry. 

So far fewer of the uninsured got covered by Obamacare, and health care costs are spiking.  On January 1, the employer mandate will take affect for businesses with between 50-100 employees.  Here, another trap door for Obamacare may open, as these companies are the most likely to downsize in order to get below 50 employees and avoid the mandate, or turn full-time workers to part-time.  The CBO doesn't expect a big drop in covered workers for these companies, but with Obamacare premiums shooting up, employers may have different plans.

The agency that manages Obamacare the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a report comparing the projections for the law made in 2010 after the bill was passed and the reality of what has actually occurred.

Needless to say, there is a yawning chasm between what the law promised and what has been delivered.

Fortune:

Last week, the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its official estimates of the uninsured population and of health spending. And in 2014, we learned, Obamacare’s coverage expansion fell between 6 and 12 million short of expectations, while driving the growth of health spending to its highest rate in 7 years.

In 2010, when Obamacare was passed, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the law would reduce the number of uninsured in 2014 by 19 million, relative to the number of people without health insurance in 2010. By 2016, CBO estimated that 30 million fewer people would be uninsured.

Last week, CMS came to a different conclusion. According to their estimates, the number of uninsured fell by 12.6 million from 2010 to 2014. And 2010’s uninsurance rate was artificially higher due to the Great Recession; if you use 2008 as the baseline, the number of uninsured fell by only 6.7 million.

In other words, all of the disruption, spending, taxation, and premium hikes in Obamacare has only reduced the percentage of U.S. residents without health insurance by 2.7%, from 13.9% to 11.1%: a remarkably small reduction, and far lower than what the law was supposed to achieve.

And because growth in enrollment in Obamacare’s exchanges has flatlined, while premiums continue to go up, there’s little reason to believe that the ultimate reduction in the uninsured will ever reach 30 million under the law.

Going back to the Obamacare debate in 2010, I recall several experts saying that the projections of the numbers of uninsured who would take advantage of Obamacare and get covered were wacky.  But that's not the only thing that opponents successfully predicted about the law.  The increase in health care costs something the president said wouldn't happen destroys the myths about Obamacare "bending the cost curve down":

A number of Obamacare’s most partisan advocates have claimed that the law has “bent down the cost curve,” because the growth rate in U.S. health spending has been slowing since 2003. Two obvious facts eluded these advocates: first, that in 2003, George W. Bush was president, and Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois; and second, that the bulk of Obamacare only went into effect in 2014, and until last week, we didn’t have data on health spending in 2014.

These basic points have eluded columnists like New York’s Jonathan Chait, who describe skeptics of Obamacare’s health spend-lowering properties as “haters” who are a “testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of all factual evidence.”

Jon will have to include as “haters,” then, members of President Obama’s own administration. A group of economists and statisticians at CMS described the 2014 health expenditure data last week in Health Affairs. The growth rate of national health spending in 2014 was 5.3%, they found: the highest rate since 2007. “The return to faster growth,” they wrote, “was largely influenced by the coverage expansions of the Affordable Care Act.”

Spending growth was up across the board: in private health insurance (4.4%), in Medicare (5.5%), and especially in Medicaid (11.0%), which Obamacare significantly expanded.

Helluva job, Barry. 

So far fewer of the uninsured got covered by Obamacare, and health care costs are spiking.  On January 1, the employer mandate will take affect for businesses with between 50-100 employees.  Here, another trap door for Obamacare may open, as these companies are the most likely to downsize in order to get below 50 employees and avoid the mandate, or turn full-time workers to part-time.  The CBO doesn't expect a big drop in covered workers for these companies, but with Obamacare premiums shooting up, employers may have different plans.