DAILYKENN.com -- Think of Obamacare as the Yugo of healthcare: It came off the assembly line in disrepair.
The projected participation level for 2016 was 21 million. Now that 2016 has arrived, we find the participation level is only 13 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The government never forced Americans to buy Yugos. It does force Americans to participate in Obamacare, with stiff penalties (taxes) for those who don't.
The Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget estimate shows Obamacare’s costs per beneficiary have exploded, as enrollment in Obamacare’s broken exchanges collapses. January’s update estimates 2016 exchange enrollment at 13 million people (p. 69). Although the president’s administration had previously downgraded its estimate of Obamacare enrollment, this is the first significant change by the non-partisan CBO.
As recently as March 2015, CBO was still assuming 21 million enrollees in Obamacare’s exchanges this year (Table 2). In the January update, it has changed its estimate only for 2016 enrollment, not for future years. Next March’s update will include a more thorough analysis including future years, and we can expect those estimates to be similarly downgraded.
What is shocking, however, is that the January update still estimates that tax credits, which subsidize insurers participating in exchanges, will cost taxpayers $56 billion this year (p. 182). That amounts to about $4,308 per enrollee (although not all are 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 (pp. 20-23). That would amount to about $2,810 per enrollee.
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.
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