7:23 AM, Mar 20, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Given that Obamacare’s supporters like to take the Congressional Budget Office’s overly optimistic scoring of the president’s signature legislation as gospel, it’s fun to look at how poorly Obamacare is actually doing in relation to earlier CBO projections. When the Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote, the CBO said that the unpopular overhaul would lead to a net increase of 26 million people with health insurance by 2015 (15 million through Medicaid plus 13 million through the Obamacare exchanges minus 2 million who would otherwise have had private insurance but wouldn’t because of Obamacare).
Fast-forwarding five years, the CBO now says that Obamacare’s tally for 2015 will actually be a net increase of just 17 million people (10 million through Medicaid plus 11 million through the Obamacare exchanges minus 4 million who would otherwise have had private insurance but won’t, or don’t, because of Obamacare).
In other words, Obamacare is now slated to hit only 65 percent of the CBO’s original coverage projection for 2015.
Obamacare’s under-publicized failure on this key point is attributable to a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following: People aren’t thrilled with Obamacare-compliant insurance’s high cost and limited doctor networks, and some would even rather pay a fine for refusing to buy such insurance than pay its premiums; the Supreme Court ruled that part of Obamacare was unconstitutional, thereby giving states more freedom not to help expand it; and HealthCare.gov has been more reminiscent of DMV.org than of Expedia.com.
In addition (and just as the CBO originally projected), the bulk of Obamacare’s net coverage gains are coming from dumping people into Medicaid (59 percent of the current projected net increase in 2015), not from getting people enrolled in private insurance (41 percent). Of course, President Obama rarely if ever talks about that aspect of Obamacare — but Republicans should.
In light of all this, it’s time for a winning conservative alternative to Obamacare that would pave the way to full repeal, offer a flat (age-based) refundable tax credit that would get people off of Medicaid and onto private insurance (letting them shop for value in the process), and give a tax cut to millions of Main Street Americans who buy health insurance on their own. Such everyday Americans generally receive nothing under Obamacare, have gotten the short end of the tax stick for decades, and deserve to get a tax break for buying individual-market insurance that’s roughly akin to the tax break for having employer-based insurance.
With such a tax-credit-based alternative in play, repeal can become a reality.
5:26 PM, Mar 2, 2015 • By IKE BRANNON
On Friday, congressional Republicans appointed Keith Hall to become the next director of the Congressional Budget Office. The announcement ended a careful two-month process that involved figuring out how to fill the position with a competent and credible individual, but without giving Democrats ammunition to decry any appointee as a partisan hack.
Jul 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 40 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On June 19, President Barack Obama delivered a lengthy speech in Berlin, in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The shades of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan surely wept.
10:33 AM, Jun 4, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A big part of Obamacare is its massive expansion of Medicaid. Fortunately, this expansion can’t happen in most states without Republicans freely choosing to make it happen. Unfortunately, far too many Republican governors seem to be confused about the distinction between repealing Obamacare and implementing it.
6:48 AM, Jun 4, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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:
1:30 PM, Oct 19, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In yet another classic Obama administration Friday night news dump, the administration abandoned the CLASS Act last week. The progam was a major component of the Obamacare law, intended to address long-term care issues. While long-term care costs are a significant problem, the CLASS Act was a disingenous budget gimmick from the start.
Non-toxic?11:29 AM, Apr 8, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
White House advisor Paul Volcker made news this week by calling a value-added tax (VAT) "not as toxic an idea" as it's been in the past for tackling the nation's deficit problem. Today, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf confirmed he's been getting "a lot of questions" about the VAT tax from Congress.
6:36 PM, Mar 18, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The CBO’s most recent analysis is out, and it’s not likely to convince wavering House Democrats to jump to the Obamacare side of the fence. Even the Democrats are granting that the latest version of their proposed health care overhaul would cost $69 billion more than the previous version. According to the CBO, this version would siphon even more money out of Medicare, make even further cuts to Medicare Advantage, and levy even higher taxes and fines on the American people.
Why all eyes are on the lefty Firedoglake.5:38 PM, Mar 17, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
I have no idea what Firedoglake means, but I do know it's an influential left-wing website that hosts one of the better health care reform whip counts. As Byron York reports:
Republicans feel it is accurate, particularly in this sense: They believe that no Democratic lawmaker who is definitely planning to vote yes on the bill would want the activists on the left, in this case exemplified by Firedoglake, to believe he or she is still undecided. Why take a beating for nothing?
The current count at FDL is 205 Yes, 209 No, including leaners. That jibes with other whip counts showing health care reform's future up for grabs.
A major factor in the upcoming vote is the CBO score of the reconciliation bill. The number isn't out yet, not because math is hard but because Democrats are manipulating the numbers to get a good result. Yet word is spreading that health care reform's price-tag is still tremendously expensive. As the saying goes: Know hope.
A certain famous liberal columnist.8:35 AM, Mar 11, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Michael Kinsley on inflation in the new Atlantic:
My specific concern is nothing original: it’s just the national debt. Yawn and turn the page here if you’d like. We talk now of trillions, not yesterday’s hundreds of billions. It’s not Obama’s fault. He did what he had to do. However, Obama is president, and Democrats do control Congress. So it’s their responsibility, even if it’s not their fault. And no one in a position to act has proposed a realistic way out of this debt, not even in theory. The Republicans haven’t. The Obama administration hasn’t. Come to think of it, even Paul Krugman hasn’t. Presidential adviser David Axelrod, writing in The Washington Post, says that Obama has instructed his agency heads to go through the budget “page by page, line by line, to eliminate what we don’t need to help pay for what we do.” So they’ve had more than a year and haven’t yet discovered the line in the budget reading “Stuff We Don’t Need, $3.2 trillion.”
The Wisconsin congressman on tax policy.6:42 PM, Mar 10, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future would drastically overhaul the American welfare state in a free-market direction. The Congressional Budget Office says it would solve the entitlements crisis through a series of changes to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. The Roadmap also includes a fundamental tax reform -- one that Ryan says, and the CBO assumes, would bring in revenues equivalent to the long-term historical average of 19-percent of GDP. Two new studies dispute that figure, however. I talked to Ryan this evening to get his response.
The U.S. tax code is unsustainable.12:00 AM, Jan 15, 2010 • By J.T. YOUNG
Last year’s unsurprisingly dismal budget numbers contain a surprising revenue story. While overall federal revenue fell precipitously, payroll tax revenue barely dipped at all. This divergent tale of two taxes has one conclusion but many implications. America’s tax system, decidedly tilted toward upper income earners, is precariously balanced. It is not only volatile in economic downturns – it is unsustainable long term.
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