Good news for Obamacare was announced this week: The total cost from President Obamas Affordable Care Act health care system continues to fall, despite persistent backlash from critics, mainly Republicans, who accuse the law of killing jobs and draining federal coffers.
The Congressional Budget Office announced on Monday that the Affordable Care Act will cost $142 billion, or 11%, less over the next 10 years, compared to what the agency had projected in January.
The CBO said it will cost less for two reasons: one, health insurance premiums are rising more slowly, which requires less of a government subsidy for those recipients who can’t pay the full price of an insurance premium. Two slightly fewer people are now expected to sign up for Medicaid and for subsidized insurance under the law’s insurance marketplaces.
This may be because more people already had health insurance before the law took effect than anticipated. In total, three million fewer people are expected to sign up for Affordable Care Act provisions by 2025. In addition, fewer companies are canceling coverage.
The cost of health care has been falling for several years, but it hasn’t been until now that analysts were able to assess how effective or efficient the ACA was during its first year.
In March 2010, the CBO predicted that the law would cost $710 billion during the period from 2015 to 2019, and made no attempts to predict anything beyond that. After several revisions, the law is now expected to cost $506 billion or 29% less from 2015 to 2019.
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The CBO issued its new estimates less than a week after the Supreme Court heard a case challenging a crucial provision of the law, according to the Washington Post. Its still unknown how hearing will play out.
It’s unknown if the prediction of costs will alleviate critics’ concerns, or if it will make enough of a dent on the Republican for the 2016 presidential ticket.
The administration handled the ACA’s online launch in the fall of 2013 very poorly, which may have tarnished the law’s image in the minds of many Americans. Even with the cost reduction, the law is still expensive, expected to cost $1.2 trillion over 10 years.