Obamacare’s precarious future

Obamacare’s precarious future
December 25 01:00 2015

Congress just kicked the financial legs out from under Obamacare.

In a spending bill passed this month, lawmakers delayed three key taxes designed to help pay the entitlement program’s costs, and clamped down on a bailout of struggling health insurers.

As a result, the long-term financial prognosis of Obamacare looks shakier than it did before. That ups the ante on Republicans to deliver their promised, but as yet unwitnessed, rehab or replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Ladies and gentlemen, several million Americans who’ve come to rely on Obamacare deserve to know what coverage plans you envision for them.

Democrats, you’re also invited to reshape federal regulation of health care. By expanding insurance but also dictating expansive coverage, your party created the costs of Obamacare. But without the revenue streams you anticipated, paying for all of those costs just got dicier. You, too, want a truly affordable care act.

How the game just changed:

•The so-called Cadillac tax was supposed to tame health costs by taxing lavish health care plans enjoyed by millions of Americans, notably clout-heavy union members. That tax was supposed to start in 2018 but now won’t kick in until 2020 unless Congress, as we expect, delays it again. If so, that’s $91 billion in lost revenue from 2018 to 2025.

•A tax on insurers that sell to individuals, families and many businesses was expected to yield $142 billion over a decade. That tax has been in effect since 2014 but is suspended for 2017, costing the U.S. Treasury $12 billion…

Read full story at Chicago Tribune
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