Nums: Some key ObamaCare ones from the CBO …

A couple of numbers have gotten a lot of press coverage in the past couple of days …

The 2014 target enrollment for the Exchanges … 7 million.

The number of cancelled individual policies … 5 million.

The latter (5 million) is referred to by administration spokespeople as a “small sliver”.

The former (7 million) is generally positioned by pundits as a big, potentially unreachable number that could sink ObamACare

Gee, are 5 million and 7 million really that different?

Got me thinking and drove me to the official CBO estimates to do some digging re: ObamaCare numbers.




Let’s highlight a couple of the numbers …


First, note that the starting point is 57 million non-elderly uninsured people.

  • Note: All elderly citizens are covered under Medicare or Medicaid.

That number includes both self-insured people (i.e. intentionally uninsured people who have the wherewithal to buy insurance but decide that the odds are that they’re better off financially by paying as-they-go) and uninsured people who either can’t afford or don’t qualify for any health insurance plans.

The CBO’s estimate of uninsureds also 57 million “… includes unauthorized immigrants.”


Note that the CBO projected that there would be 2 million newly uninsured people … those who get their individual policies cancelled.

Of course, everybody knows that those numbers have swelled to over 5 million because of the law’s narrowly defined “non-conforming” grandfathering provisions.

So, the gross number of uninsureds increases to about 60 million … the original uninsureds plus the legislatively-induced uninsureds.


Next, note that less than 1/4 of the non-elderly uninsureds become insured … 14 million on the original base of 57 million.

Now, 14 million is a lot of people …. but all of this angst & disruption is only fixing about 1/3 of the problem!


Note also that the bulk of the newly insureds – 9 million out of the 14 million — come thru an expansion of Medicaid and CHIP(Children’s Health Insurance Program). … programs that are Federally funded, but state administered.


ObamaCare ups the qualifying income ceiling to 133% of poverty level … about $15,000 for an individual, $30,000 for a household of 4.

  • Note: The organizing unit is “household” not “family”)

And, ObamaCare offers to pay states 100% of the costs of the expanded Medicaid roles for the first couple off years … 90% thereafter.


The rest of the folks getting insurance – the oft-quoted 7 million – are expected to get their insurance thru the sputtering ObamaCare Exchanges.

CBO projects that 85% of the folks buying insurance thru the Exchanges will get a subsidy … with a $5,290 average subsidy.

  • Note: It’s not clear to me why anybody who doesn’t get a subsidy will buy thru the Exchange … and it strikes me as economically irrational for any “adult-child” to buy a policy if they can be appended to their parent’s employer-sponsored family plan.


Bottom line:

14 million out of about 60 million uninsureds get insurance … practically all get the insurance at no charge via Medicaid or at highly subsidized rate premiums via the Exchanges.

Total annual cost is about $50 billion … about $3,500 per newly insured person.

Question: What about the other 46 million uninsureds?

Who are they? What’s their story?


Stay tuned for more cuts at the numbers …

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