However, all is not lost. The Democrats’ version of “reform” might at least reduce the number of uninsured. But to what degree, and at what cost?
According to the Census, there are 28 million uninsured Americans (46 million, minus 9 million non-citizens, minus 9 million Medicaid beneficiaries whom the Census admits were falsely tallied as uninsured). The CBO is adding 5 million to that figure because of the recession (fair enough) but isn’t accounting for the Census’s admitted Medicaid undercount, so it is erroneously listing the number of uninsured as 51 million — inflating the true number by about 20 percent.
In addition, the CBO isn’t meaningfully factoring in the increased incentive that young, healthy people would have under the proposed legislation to dump their insurance and pick it up again only if they are already sick or injured — raising everyone else’s premiums as a result.
But let’s suspend disbelief and pretend that there really are 51 million uninsured people in America and that almost no one would take advantage of the opportunity to wait until they need insurance to buy it if they could. Under these generous and fanciful assumptions, the CBO says that the proposed legislation would reduce the number of uninsured by 31 million by 2019. The CBO says that 28 of these 31 million would become newly insured between the start of 2014 and the end of 2016, and that little further progress would be made thereafter. But let’s make another charitable assumption and assume that another 8 million could somehow become newly insured in the next decade (2020–29), for a total of 39 million in all. (As the CBO notes, not all of these newly insured would be Americans.)
So, what would be the price tag? The CBO projects that the proposed legislation’s costs over these two decades — from insurance coverage expansions alone — would be $3.9 trillion. So, even under this most generous set of assumptions regarding success in lowering the number of uninsured, the legislation’s cost for every newly insured person would be . . . an even $100,000.
Let’s call this the $100,000 Obamacare policy — courtesy of your wallet, via the Democratic Congress and White House.
12/02 10:47 AM
This blog post originally appeared on National Review’s Critical Condition.