The Affordable Care Act hit the trifecta this month. A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast that it will have lower premiums, cost less than was earlier projected and insure more people.
Separately, President Obama announced that eight million people signed up for Obamacare through the federal exchange. As many as nine million people may have bought policies directly from insurance companies, bypassing federal exchanges, in order to avoid penalties. Another three million were enrolled under Medicaid.
In addition, three million young adults under 26 secured coverage on their parents’ health plans and approximately one million children with pre-existing conditions were covered as soon as the law passed in 2010.
Thanks to price competition, the CBO now projects that enrollees will spend $190 billion less on premiums more than 10 years than earlier estimated.
The CBO and the bi-partisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the ACA’s coverage costs will be $5 billion less than previously forecast for 2014 and $104 billion less for the 2015–2024 time period.
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the share of adults without health insurance shrank from 17.1 percent at the end of last year to 15.6 percent for the first three months of 2014.
Because of the high sign-up numbers, Politico has reported many insurers are considering expanding their participation in the program next year, which could drive costs lower still.
The CBO and JCT estimate that the percentage of the non-elderly population with health insurance will rise from the current 80 percent to 84 percent this year and to roughly 89 percent by 2016.
In addition, the CBO and JCT reaffirmed their earlier estimate that the ACA’s overall effect would be to reduce federal deficits. Their current forecast is that the deficit will be 2.8 percent of GDP in 2014, the lowest number since 2007. For purposes of comparison, annual deficits under Reagan averaged 4.2 percent of GDP, the result of his unfunded tax cuts and military Keynesianism that tripled the national debt.