Five years ago this month, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation that his critics promptly labeled “ObamaCare” in hopes of draping it around his neck like an albatross.
Funny how time changes things.
For example, according to a report issued this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare’s projected cost to taxpayers over the next decade has dropped by 11 percent just since January, and has dropped by almost a third since the CBO issued its initial cost projections in 2010.
In addition, CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation report that by 2025, ObamaCare will have slashed “the number of people without health insurance by 24 million to 25 million in most years relative to what would have occurred under prior law.”
Some more highlights of the CBO report:
- “In March 2010, CBO and JCT projected that the insurance-related provisions of the ACA would cost the federal government $710 billion from fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2019. The most recent projections indicate that the cost will be $506 billion for that same period, a reduction of 29 percent.“
- “For 2019, CBO and JCT originally projected that the net federal cost of the insurance coverage provisions would be $172 billion. The agencies currently project a cost of $116 billion, which is $56 billion, or 33 percent, below the original projection.”
- “Spending by private health insurers on health care and administration rose less in 2013 (the most recent year for which data are available) than in preceding years and by much less than the agencies had expected for 2013.”
- Projected deficits over the next decade have dropped by $431 billion just since January, and again, “The largest factor underlying that reduction is a downward revision in projected growth in premiums for private health insurance.”
- In addition, lower insurance costs will be good for the economy and are projected to drive growth — more jobs, higher wages — producing a “$210 billion increase in projected (government) revenues that is attributable to the effects of lower health insurance premiums on wages and salaries.”
All of that information is important in its own right. It tells us that ObamaCare is working even better than expected, at a considerably lower cost than expected. But the data should be compared not merely to previous CBO projections, but also to the repeated, constant, highly operatic predictions by Republican politicians that ObamaCare would lead to the collapse of the American economy, the destruction of the health-care system, the dreaded “death spiral” that would leave the insurance industry a smoking ruin and pretty much the end of western civilization as we know it.
None of those predictions has come true, or even remotely true. But instead of easing GOP opposition to ObamaCare, the program’s success has made Republicans even more desperate to kill it, lest the American people start to take notice of the huge, gaping credibility chasm between what they claimed would happen and what has actually happened.
It’s pretty amazing, really.