The Congressional Budget Office has been busy crunching numbers since President Obama’s health-care initiative was upheld by last month’s Supreme Court ruling, and it seems there’s a little bit of both good and bad news as a result. The bulk of the Affordable Care Act was upheld in the ruling and it turns out it’ll be cheaper to execute than previously thought, but the decision also means it will leave millions of people without insurance.
Budget analysts at the nonpartisan CBO expect that some states will decide to refuse the expansion of their Medicaid programs, as the court struck down a plan requiring them to do so, or won’t expand until after 2014 when other parts of the law go into effect, reports the Washington Post.
In those states, anyone earning between 100% and 138% of the poverty level will have the option to receive government subsidies to help them buy private insurance on a new open market. For those who make less than the full poverty level, however, they might be out of luck, says the CBO.
The CBO forecasts that states will reduce Medicaid and child health-care rolls by about 6 million people, and at the same time, add about 3 million into the insurance exchanges. That means those without health insurance could rise by around 3 million, bringing the total number of uninsured to around 30 million.
However, while federal spending on subsidies for people in the exchanges would go up by about $210 billion in the next 10 years, the government will spend less on Medicaid and children’s health programs by about $289 billion.
The total cost of expanding coverage through 2022 would then drop to by around $1.17 trillion, compared with the original estimate of $1.25 trillion. That’s a savings of $84 billion — not too shabby.
The CBO adds in its report that the Affordable Care Act would retain its powers of deficit reduction.