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Thursday, March 16, 2017

How Many People Will Lose Insurance If Nothing Is Done?

This past week, we got the fantasy number from the CBO as to how many people would lose health insurance next year if the GOP repeal/replacement measure were passed.  The CBO said 14 million, even though that number makes no sense.  There are only 11 million people who bought insurance through the exchanges.  Employer plans will not be affected by the GOP plan except to make premiums lower (by 10% on average according to the CBO).  It is unlikely that employers will end this benefit due to lower cost.  The rest of the country gets insurance through Medicaid or Medicare and those programs will not be affected in any way next year.  Somehow, though, the CBO is predicting that from a base of 11 million, 14 million people will lose their insurance.  It's a fantasy.

One number that the CBO did not mention, however, is the quantum of people who will lose their insurance next year if nothing is done to Obamacare.  This is, after all, what the Democrats want to happen.  In 2017, so far, we have already seen a reduction of close to 2 million people with insurance as the costs of Obamacare have soared to a point beyond which many cannot afford to buy it.  If the normal trend continues, by the end of the year there will be another million to two million who will drop off their insurance.  That's four million in 2017.  But what will 2018 bring?

We already know that a whole host of insurance carriers will stop offering insurance in 2018 on the exchanges if nothing is done.  Since about a quarter of the counties in this country have just one insurance carrier, there will be a major increase in the uninsured if that carrier were to stop offering coverage.  There are a few counties now with NO AVAILABLE INSURANCE.  Imagine how many will lose coverage if 20% of the counties across the country have no insurance offered on the exchanges.

One estimate is that if nothing is done, there will be something like 50 million people who will lose insurance over the next decade under Obamacare itself.  That's more than the fantasy number from the CBO for the GOP plan.

Next time some self important genius tells you that the CBO says that 14 million will lose coverage next year, try this simple move:  ask the genius "How many people will lose insurance if we just stick with Obamacare?"  Watch the confusion.  Then explain that the number will be "huge" as one insurance after another exits the market.

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