NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

What We Now Know About ObamaCare

February 3, 2014

The more we learn about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the more it seems that its original critics were correct, says Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

The media focus has largely been on ObamaCare's failed Web site, but the law's problems extend far beyond that. The cost projections for the law continue to increase.

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally scored the ACA at a cost of $938 billion over a decade.
  • But those numbers have been updated, with the most recent CBO projections estimating a $1.8 trillion cost from 2013-2023.

Moreover, the ACA authorizes additional spending measures but does not provide expenditures for them. As a result, estimating those figures is difficult. But the CBO estimates that such spending could add $100 billion in costs over 10 years.  In total, the real cost of the ACA is $2.4 trillion.

Beyond the costs, Americans are paying higher premiums and losing their doctors, and their jobs are being reduced to part-time:

  • An incredible 5.4 million people with individual policies have already lost their insurance thanks to the ACA. Because the employer mandate has been postponed, those plans have yet to be affected, but cancellations will begin in late 2014.
  • Those forced to change their plans may not find a new plan that includes their previous doctor. Those joining the exchanges will face narrow networks with a very limited doctor selection.
  • Forty-one percent of small business owners have halted plans to hire new employees, and many companies have reduced their employees to part-time so as to avoid the ObamaCare mandate. The number of Americans working 25-29 hours per week in their primary job rose 2.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013. In fact, 88 percent of all net new jobs adding during President Obama's tenure in office have been part-time.
  • The law includes $1.18 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. The medical device tax alone -- a 2.3 percent gross income tax on manufactures -- will put 43,000 jobs at risk, according to estimates. Overall, one researcher at Duke University found that the tax and regulatory burdens in the law will destroy 1,139,000 to 1,625,000 jobs.

And this is only what we know so far. There is a very real chance that the law causes an adverse selection death spiral, destroying the insurance industry.

Source: Michael D. Tanner, "ObamaCare: What We Know Now," Cato Institute, January 27, 2014.


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