Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quietly, the CBO Revised its Projection of How Many Would "Lose" (Choose Not to Buy) Obamacare Due to the GOP Tax Revisions

CBO just reduced that estimate by 34% in a few short months. That's all, just a third!

From the Washington Examiner:
The government's scorekeeping agencies revised their controversial estimate for how many more people would be uninsured as a result of changes Republicans and the Trump administration made to Obamacare. 
The latest estimates project that zeroing out Obamacare's fine for going uninsured alone will result in roughly 8.6 million more people becoming uninsured by 2027 than if the fine had been kept in place, compared to the 13 million figure the agencies had released several months ago. 
The study, which comes from the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, makes various projections about different ways that people are expected get health insurance, using different baselines than in previous iterations and taking into account other consumer and health insurance behavior observed during the past year. 
The agency arrives at an even lower number of projected uninsured, 5 million, by taking into account other changes that the Trump administration plans to make, including by offering plans outside of Obamacare. 
One of the main provisions it takes into account is Republicans' eliminating Obamacare's mandate penalties for being uninsured in the tax bill President Trump signed into law last year. The CBO now believes that removing the individual mandate's penalties will be less consequential than it did previously. 
In arriving at the previous 13 million figure for people who would be uninsured as a result of the fine's repeal, the agencies took into account different ways that people obtain health insurance coverage: through Obamacare marketplaces, through a job and through government-funded Medicaid. 
Left unchanged in the latest report is the assumption that 2 million people who have the option to receive health insurance from a job would choose to go without it now that there is no fine for being uninsured. 
But other assumptions changed or were influenced by various actions from the Trump administration and states. Previously, the agencies estimated that 5 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid, which is almost fully paid for by the government. Fewer people would enroll, they assumed, because a portion of enrollees who think they have to buy health insurance or otherwise face a fine head to the exchanges. There, they learn they qualify for no-cost Medicaid coverage instead. 
The agencies still believe some of that behavior will be at play, but they have lowered their projections to 1 million fewer people enrolled in Medicaid. Within that estimate, however, is incorporated the fact that the agencies believe more states will move to expand the Medicaid program. By 2028, about two-thirds of the people who are eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare will be enrolled throughout the country, the report said. Currently, 55 percent of the eligible population is enrolled, because people who do not have it live in states where it is not available. 
For the Obamacare exchanges, the CBO had projected 5 million fewer people would be enrolled, and instead uninsured, because analysts expected that healthier people would choose to go uninsured rather than purchase coverage once the fine was gone. In the latest estimate, the projection dropped to between 2 and 3 million, partly because people would choose to go uninsured or would be unable to pay for the higher costs of health insurance that result from healthier people abandoning the market. ...