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CBO: Uninsured Under Obamacare Never Falls Below 30 Million

6:48 AM, Jun 4, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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On Monday, CNBC reported on a new survey that found that two-thirds of Americans currently without health insurance don't know if they will purchase coverage by the deadline, the first day of 2014.  The survey was released by InsuranceQuotes.com, a company that offers comparison shopping for insurance, similar to the "marketplaces" envisioned by Obamacare.  The results of the survey surprised Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at the company:

"I was really shocked that 64 percent [of uninsured adults] said they haven't decided if they will purchase insurance by the Jan. 1 deadline," Adams said. "I was definitely surprised by the high number of people who really have no clue what they're going to do next year." 

"We don't want these consumers to miss this key deadline," she said, adding that new heath-care exchanges under Obamacare will begin accepting applications for insurance in less than four months. "They're going to potentially go without health care for the entire year."

However, for those who have kept up with Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections on the implementation and progress of Obamacare over the next decade, the results will not be all that surprising.  On the contrary, the most recent report issued by the CBO in May appears pessimistic by comparison. Of the 55 million "Uninsured Nonelderly People" the report lists for 2013, only 11 million, or 20 percent, are projected to obtain insurance during 2014; the number of uninsured falls only to 44 million next year according to the CBO.  This leaves a full 80 percent uninsured, significantly more than the 67 percent found by the survey.

In fact, the CBO projects that under Obamacare over the next decade, the number of uninsured will never fall below 30 million. Here are the year-by-year projections from the report:

2013 - 55,000,000
2014 - 44,000,000
2015 - 37,000,000
2016 - 31,000,000
2017 - 30,000,000
2018 - 30,000,000
2019 - 30,000,000
2020 - 30,000,000
2021 - 31,000,000
2022 - 31,000,000
2023 - 31,000,000

Despite Obamacare’s mix of requirements, mandates, subsidies, and penalties, the CBO projects that the law will never be able to decrease the number of uninsured below 11 percent of the population.  During the decade projected by the CBO, the percentage of uninsured nonelderly persons decreases from 20 percent in 2013 to 11 percent by 2016, but then remains there for the rest of the ten year period.  Not everything in the CBO report is similarly static, however.  The "Average Exchange Subsidy per Subsidized Enrollee" increases 50 percent over the same time period, rising from $5,290 in 2014 to $7,900 in 2023.

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