Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Republicans Proven Completely Wrong On Obamacare. And They Have No Alternative

Revised CBO outlook shows the ‘damage’ wrought by Obamacare

Jonathan Capehart

January 27, 2015

The bad Republican habit of calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, without articulating what will replace it to help the millions of Americans who would lose their health insurance appears to be coming to an end. The Hill reports that a band of GOP senators is “preparing a legislative plan of action in case the Supreme Court strikes a major blow against ObamaCare and rules subsidies provided to people on the federal exchange are illegal.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told the Hill they “would like to be ready with a response to that that makes practical sense for the 5 or 6 million Americans who would be affected.” But later in the story he confided: “We don’t have a proposal yet. We have a goal to repair the damage of ObamaCare.”
The damage? I know folks think I live on another planet, but the one I live on doesn’t support that assertion. At all. The latest report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office backs me up on this. According to its “Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025,” “[A]bout 42 million nonelderly residents of the United States were uninsured in 2014, about 12 million fewer than would have been uninsured in the absence of the ACA.” You can find that on page 118.
On pages 128 and 129, you learn how the cost of Obamacare to the federal government is less than projected. In 2010, the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the ACA “would cost the federal government $710 billion during fiscal years 2015 through 2019.” The agencies now report that “those provisions will cost $571 billion over that same period, a reduction of 20 percent.” The CBO says the reasons for this are many, but it highlights a key factor. “Another notable influence on the downward revision to projected federal costs is the slowdown in the growth of health care costs that has been experienced by private insurers,” the report notes, “as well as by the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
More people have health insurance than would have without Obamacare. And the costs of Obamacare are less than projected when the ACA was signed into law. So, what exactly is the damage Alexander and the GOP are trying to repair?
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.

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