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Obamacare Falls Short of Promises to Uninsured

A Picture of Abby Coleman Abby Coleman

The Heritage Foundation

July 25, 2012

Amy Payne

Two new reports out yesterday continue to knock down President Obama’s promises about Obamacare: his “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” and the promise to significantly shrink the ranks of the uninsured.

According to a new study from consulting firm Deloitte, almost one of out of 10 employers said they are going to drop coverage for their employees because of Obamacare, while another 10 percent said they “remain unsure” about what they are going to do. As the vast majority of Americans have health insurance through their workplaces, this is a huge blow.

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) dealt another blow with its updated outlook on the health care law, as it attempted to integrate the Supreme Court’s ruling into its projections.

Although Obamacare spends more than $1 trillion to get people covered, CBO predicts it will still leave 30 million Americans uninsured, falling far short of what was promised.

CBO’s announcement said that Obamacare could cost less than originally projected—but the reason for the drop was that fewer people will be covered.

Even with the updated cost estimate, Heritage’s Kate Nix explains: “The law will now add $1.17 trillion in new government spending over 10 years—paid for by massive tax hikes on all Americans and robbing money from the Medicare program.”

Although President Obama campaigned on the dream of universal coverage, that remains simply a dream. In fact, each time the CBO has updated its projections, the number of uninsured under Obamacare increases. Nix breaks it down:

“Since day one, it’s been clear that Obamacare will not achieve universal coverage, and every time CBO revisits the law, the numbers show just that. In March 2010, when the law passed, CBO predicted that there would be 22 million people still without insurance in 2019. In March 2012, the estimate increased to 27 million in 2022. Now, the number has once again increased—to 30 million. So Obamacare leaves just as many people uninsured as it covers.”

“It leaves just as many people uninsured as it covers” wouldn’t have been a very convincing slogan for the lawmakers who believed that Obamacare would help the uninsured.

Even this CBO projection is merely a guess. The agency is guessing what will happen now that states aren’t being forced to expand their Medicaid programs. Though the Supreme Court allowed Obamacare’s individual mandate to stand as a tax, it struck down the law’s forced Medicaid expansion as unconstitutional.

But as the CBO said, “what states will be able to do and what they will decide to do are both highly uncertain. As a result…[the] estimates reflect an assessment of the probabilities of different outcomes.”

Those outcomes are up in the air, because most of the nation’s governors haven’t decided whether to expand their Medicaid programs yet. States that do may face “a large extra cost,” the CBO said.

Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko warned states not to buckle under Administration pressure to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid. And for good reason—the unintended consequences continue to mount, and the story grows worse with every day that the law stays on the books.

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