Lack of enrollment in failing Obamacare exchanges means taxpayer costs are exploding

( Sometimes it’s no fun being right, but those who predicted early on that the so-called business model upon which the Affordable Care Act is premised was doomed to fail from the outset are being vindicated.

John R. Graham, in blog post at the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote recently that the federal government’s most up-to-date budget estimate pertaining to Obamacare-related expenses have dramatically increased.

“The Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget estimate shows Obamacare’s costs per beneficiary have exploded, as enrollment in Obamacare’s broken exchanges collapses,” writes Graham, a health policy expert. “January’s update estimates 2016 exchange enrollment at 13 million people (p. 69). Although the Administration had previously downgraded its estimate of Obamacare enrollment, this is the first significant change by the non-partisan CBO.”

He further notes that, based on the CBO’s assessment, the update continues to estimate that tax credits that go to subsidize insurance companies participating in the exchanges will cost taxpayers something like $56 billion, which Graham describes as “shocking.” That makes the average cost per enrollee about $4,308, though not all of them will be subsidized.

“Back in March 2010, CBO estimated that 21 million people would be covered in exchanges in 2016, for a total cost of $59 billion in tax credits,” he writes. “That would amount to about $2,810 per enrollee.”

Further, CBO was still estimating in March 2015 that 21 million Americans would enroll in the Obamacare exchanges. But in the January assessment CBO not only has lowered its estimate (dramatically) but only did so for 2016. Graham believes that the March update – which will contain enrollment and cost estimates for future years – will probably “be similarly downgraded.”

“This leads to the conclusion that Obamacare exchanges are, in fact, high-risk pools for sick individuals who cannot get coverage elsewhere. They are not a properly functioning, broad-based, market for health insurance,” he wrote.

Finally, he noted that CBO, again, confirmed that the law was costing the country jobs:

CBO anticipates that several developments in federal fiscal policy under current law will affect the economy through their impact on the labor market. The most sizable effects stem from provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA’s largest effect on the labor market—especially as overall employment conditions improve—will come from provisions of the act that raise effective marginal tax rates on earnings, thereby reducing how much some people choose to work. The health insurance subsidies that the act provides through the expansion of Medicaid and the exchanges are phased out for people with higher income, creating an implicit tax on some people’s additional earnings. The act also directly imposes higher taxes on some people’s labor income. Because both effects on labor supply will grow over the next few years, CBO projects, they will subtract from economic growth over that period.

That Obamacare is failing should not surprise anyone; it was a big government, one-size-fits-all, top-down, mandated, mega-law that is smothering the free market health insurance industry, all while delivering none of what the president and Obamacare supporters in Congress promised (lower out-of-pocket; universal coverage, keep your own doctor, etc.).

That it is evolving into another massively expensive entitlement boondoggle, at a time when our national debt is nearing $20 trillion, should anger – and scare – you.

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