Despite the political wrangling, the criticism and the fear over the Affordable Care Act and its costs, the taxpayers’ checkbook is actually looking better than expected.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced yesterday that its 10-year projection of the health care law’s cost is showing a savings of $142 million over its prediction just two months ago, the Washington Post reported.
The CBO attributed the 11-percent reduction to two factors:
The first, and most significant, is that health insurance premiums are rising more slowly, and thus require less of a government subsidy.
In addition, slightly fewer people are now expected to sign up for Medicaid and for subsidized insurance under the law's marketplaces.
Turns out the feds thought more people were uninsured than there really were, and not as many insurance companies as expected canceled coverage because of the law, according to the Post article.
All in all, three million fewer people are expected to sign up for Affordable Care Act provisions by 2025.
The CBO says the end result will still mean fewer people are uninsured. And well, it better, because it’s still a mighty expensive program with a projected cost of $1.2 trillion in 10 years.
All around, it's positive news for Obama's law, which has been accused by Republicans of killing jobs and draining federal coffers. Indeed, the CBO itself warned last year the health care law could reduce full time employment as some chose to give up work that provided health care as they relied instead on the government's subsidies.
The future of the health care law is still being tested, though. The Supreme Court just finished hearing a case, challenging a critical component of the law, and the justices won’t rule until late spring or early summer.
Reach Halle Stockton at 412-315-0263 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @HalleStockton.