Friday, July 28, 2017

The Truth Concerning the Scare Headlines Around the "17 Million Who Would Lose Health Insurance Coverage" Under Obamacare Repeal

By Robert Wenzel

Senator John McCain has killed Obamacare "skinny repeal" but it should be made clear that much of the fearmongering by mainstream media about the earlier Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 was dishonest by leaving out the complete story.

New York Times "economist" Paul Krugman led the dishonesty by omission. with this retweet:

Here's a CNBC headline:

Here's the full story from the Congressional Budget Office Scoring report.

Let's start with the part that MSM tells you about:
Effects on Insurance Coverage. In 2018, by CBO and JCT’s estimates, about 17 million
more people would be uninsured under this legislation than under current law.
But who are these 17 million? This MSM fails to report  (my emphasis):
[I]ncrease in the uninsured population would consist of about 10 million fewer people with coverage obtained in the nongroup market...In the nongroup market, some people would choose not to have insurance partly because they choose to be covered by insurance under current law to avoid paying the penalty. And, under this legislation, without the mandate penalty, some people would forgo insurance in response to the higher premiums that CBO and JCT project would be charged.... 
Insurers would still be required to provide coverage to any applicant, and they would not be able to vary premiums to reflect enrollees’ health status or to limit coverage of preexisting medical conditions. Those features are most attractive to applicants with
relatively high expected costs for health care, so CBO and JCT expect that repealing the
individual mandate penalty would tend to reduce insurance coverage less among older
and less healthy people than among younger and healthier people.
Got that? A full 10 million of the 17 million number tossed around would be the young healthy forced to pay high premiums under Obama's mandate. Those (even the youth) with high medical expenses would still be required to be covered by insurers. It's mostly the damn healthy kids escaping the high premium Obama mandate that is all!

Another portion of the 17 million that would no longer have coverage under repeal is according to the report:  "roughly 4 million fewer people with coverage under Medicaid."

But the report tells us why that would occur (my emphasis):
Under current law, the penalty associated with the individual mandate applies to some Medicaid-eligible adults and children. (For example, it applies to single individuals with income above about 90 percent of the FPL.) In addition, some people apply for coverage in the marketplaces because of the penalty and turn out to be eligible for Medicaid. And some who are not subject to the penalty think they would be if they did not enroll in Medicaid. The agencies do not expect that, with the penalty eliminated under this legislation, people enrolled in Medicaid would disenroll. However, among people who would become eligible for Medicaid under the legislation or who would need to recertify their eligibility, the proportion of people who enrolled in the program would, by CBO and JCT’s expectations, be lower—closer to the proportions observed for those groups prior to the institution of the penalty.
So here, again, no one would have been uninsured except for the fact that the vicious Obama mandate would have been eliminated and some who are eligible for Medicaid would not have applied because  the Obamacare mandate dagger would  no longer hanging over their heads--even though they would be eligible!

So now we are up to 14 million of the so-called "17 million newly uninsured," who really under repeal would have just been escaping the Obama mandate that would have been eliminated.

The final group is those who will not be insured by employees and, again, it is the same story, escape from the Obama mandate if there was repeal (my bold)
Under current law, the prospect of paying the employer mandate penalty tips the scale for
some businesses and causes them to decide to offer health insurance to their employees.
Thus, eliminating that penalty would cause some employers to not offer health insurance.
Similarly, the demand for insurance among employees is greater under current law
because some employees want employment-based coverage so that they can avoid paying the individual mandate penalty. Eliminating that penalty would reduce such demand
and would cause some employers to not offer coverage or some employees to not enroll in coverage they were offered, CBO and JCT estimate.
Bottom line: The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 would have kept in place coverage for anyone with a "pre-existing condition" or otherwise who wanted coverage. The only new group of uninsured would be those who are healthy, mostly young and of their own choosing do not want insurance.

The MSM coverage leaves the impression that somehow 17 million ill people would have lost coverage.  This is completely dishonest.The MSM coverage is the only thing sick that is not covered by insurance.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Sunday Morning with Robert Wenzel.

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