CBO: Supreme Court sliced into Obamacare

July 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare means the program will cost less, but 3 million fewer will be insured, the Congressional Budget Office said.

In its late June ruling, which upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court rejected the law's requirement that states expand their Medicaid coverage by raising eligibility to include people earning as much as 138 percent of the poverty level, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

For states that balk at expanding their Medicaid programs, those earning less than the poverty level could be left high and dry, while those earning between 100 percent of the poverty level to 138 percent of it would be eligible for federally subsidized insurance, the newspaper said.

Overall, 6 million fewer people would be signed onto Medicaid, but 3 million would likely go directly to subsidized, private insurance, which leaves a net loss of 3 million who would have been covered before the Supreme Court ruled on the challenges to the law.

The total costs to the government from 2012-2022 would drop from $1.252 trillion to 1.168 trillion, a savings of $84 billion over 11 years, The New York Times reported.

"For the average person who does not enroll in Medicaid as a result of the court's decision and becomes uninsured, federal spending will decline by roughly an estimated $6,000 in 2022,'' said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf.

The CBO also said that the program was now cost effective, all things being equal.

To repeal the law would increase the federal deficit by $110 billion over the next decade by cutting federal spending by $890 billion, but cutting revenues by $1 trillion, the CBO said.

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