Budget Office Revises Projections Ahead of Insurance Exchange Rollout
The rollout of insurance exchanges and the coverage they promise under the banner of market competition and choice continues to be championed by the Obama administration. And for good reason: as the president enters his legacy term, there’s a lot riding on the smooth inauguration and implementation of one of the most heavily bureaucratic provisions of Obamacare. The perceived positives must continue to played up. But at what cost?
The findings of a new report by the non-partisan CBO show that there is more concern than originally thought on the financial implications and subsequent exchange offerings imposed by reform. Per original estimates, the picture was slightly rosier for the group that has historically been the most contentious on Obamacare — the employer. Insurance coverage would probably increase slightly for workers who may not have been able to achieve coverage before the reform law’s passage. Also, exchanges would provide a small net increase for those in need of affordable coverage.
But, the authors seem to be backtracking on these original findings a bit, projecting fewer offerings in exchanges and employer-sponsored coverage. The CBO is also less bullish on an autumn start date for insurance exchange rollouts — citing the potential for problems under Medicaid expansion schemes and exchanges’ ability to offer extreme choice right out of the box.
For all of the hype surrounding the report, projections only go out for two years subsequent to rollout. Perhaps more comprehensive projections are in order. Although the net result of the CBO’s analysis projects a decrease of uninsured coverage by 2 million persons under reform, there are still too many factors at play to definitively say that Obamacare’s exchange provisions will boom or bust in the short term. However, these revisions do provide for some interesting reading as we continue to anticipate a key Obamacare feature on the eve of its launch. | LINK to spreadsheet file from CBO