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CBO: Obamacare costs taxpayers $50,000 per enrollee

Written By | Jan 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, January 27, 2015 — The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office just reported that each person who enrolls in Obamacare will cost the taxpayers $50,000. CBO estimates that about 25 million Americans will sign-up for Obamacare within the next 10 years, at a cost of $1.35 trillion.

The total cost will be almost $2 trillion, but $643 billion of that will be offset by new taxes, penalties and fees imposed by the health care law.

The CBO was established in 1974. Its mission is to provide objective, nonpartisan and timely analysis of government spending and taxing decisions. Its creation marked the first time that Congress attempted some degree of accountability for their taxing and spending decisions.  Prior to that, laws were passed without an objective analysis.

The fear was always that the legislators who proposed actions would not be objective with their assessment of the financial impact. The CBO would provide that information so that before representatives and senators voted on a spending bill, they would have a full scoring of its likely impact on the federal budget.  Over the years, Americans have come to rely on the CBO’s estimates.

When the CBO provides figures, government insiders and experts take a careful look. When the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was passed, Americans were assured it would not “add one dime” to the deficit and there would be “no new taxes on the middle class.” According to the CBO’s report, neither is accurate.

The CBO projects that the federal government budget deficit for fiscal 2015 will be $468 billion. That is slightly less than the $483 billion deficit in 2014.  While the administration takes pride in noting that they have reduced the deficit by more than 60 percent when compared to Obama’s first annual budget deficit of $1.4 trillion, the 2015 deficit will still be larger than any other president’s deficit — ever.

The real problem is that this annual deficit results in a huge and expanding public debt, currently exceeding $18 trillion. By the time Obama leaves office, the total public debt will be about $19 trillion, which exceeds our annual GDP for the first time since 1946. Obamacare costs are making the problem worse.

As we read through the continued deceptive information supplied to the American public, the disastrous impact of Obamacare becomes more evident. When the program was passed, there were about 45 million uninsured Americans. After its full implementation, the CBO estimates that there will still be about 20 million Americans uninsured. So far only about 9 million have signed up.

The 280 million Americans who were mostly satisfied with their health care coverage prior to Obamacare, are now receiving poorer quality service and are paying more in terms of higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher taxes.  With the high deductibles that are now necessary to keep the premiums from escalating further, many people are skipping doctors’ visits and routine tests to avoid additional out of pocket expenses.  This results in poorer care.

Many of the Republican members of the newly sworn in 114th Congress promised to repeal the ACA. While Obama has said he will veto any law that guts the ACA, Congress may be forced to act. Failure to do so will result in additional burdens being placed on future generations who will be forced to carry this burden.

While supporters of the ACA ask what would happen if the ACA were repealed, the answer is not difficult. Go back to the system that we had prior to Obamacare, then pass legislation outlawing pre-conditions clauses in health insurance policies and force the insurers to include dependent children up to the age of 26. Then the popular parts of Obamacare are retained.

Then simply expand Medicaid to cover any uninsured Americans who can’t afford to purchase insurance on their own. There are other actions that could be considered, like increasing the number of doctors and other health care professionals to make the market for health care services more competitive. And expand the Health Savings Accounts.

If Obamacare is not repealed or at least dramatically revised, we could be headed for another financial crisis.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.