walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Obamacare Fail: CBO Predicts Drops in Health Coverage

When Obama took to the stump for health care reform, one promise came through loud and clear: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” That promise is officially about to be broken, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Millions of employees will soon be dropped from health insurance coverage as new provisions of the law go into effect. NBC reports:

About 8 million people who would have been insured by their employers will probably lose their coverage because of tax changes, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] projects.

[The fiscal cliff deal] takes away some of the tax breaks that employers get for providing health insurance to workers and their families. The change “will lead to a greater reduction in such coverage and higher enrollment in insurance exchanges than previously estimated by CBO,” the report reads.

The CBO also projected that 5 million fewer people will gain health insurance coverage over the next decade than originally expected.

Theoretically, dropped beneficiaries should be able to enroll in insurance exchanges, a healthcare marketplace where insurance companies compete for individual customers, and those unable to afford a plan of their own have access to Medicaid. But experts predict that people will be slow to enroll in the exchanges, and some governors are already pushing back against exchanges and Medicaid expansion due to cost concerns and worries about “the readiness of exchanges to provide a broad array of new insurance options, the ability of state Medicaid programs to absorb new beneficiaries, and people’s responses to the availability of the new coverage,” according to the CBO.

Nobody knows how this will play out—including the law’s authors—but it’s already clear that many of those who liked their insurance will not, in fact, be able to keep it.

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