Health care law will deepen deficit


The White House sold “Obamacare” as an instrument for lowering health insurance premiums and reducing federal budget deficits. “Altogether,” President Barack Obama said, “our cost-cutting measures would reduce most people’s premiums, and bring down our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.”

Studies, however, reveal a far different picture. Health care spending will increase because of Obamacare, according to a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Premiums are set to increase for most Americans, and government actuaries now estimate the growth in the net cost of health insurance will increase by 14 percent — compared to 3.5 percent if Obamacare never passed.

Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that the health care program will deepen our future deficits.

Yet Obamacare purported to reduce future deficits because its tax increases and Medicare cuts would be large enough to exceed the cost of its health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion. Of course, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi simultaneously warned against these pre-passage predictions, saying, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

Now that the bill has passed, and experts have had an opportunity to analyze the law, it is becoming clear that Obamacare will be more expensive than advertised — adding to a deficit already crippling the economy.

So far, the main culprit is the law’s expensive health insurance subsidies, available to some people who lack employer-sponsored health insurance. “The massive federal subsidies are money on the table” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Congressional Budget Office director, wrote, “inviting a vast reworking of compensation packages, insurance coverage and labor market relations.”

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