Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Repealing ObamaCare a Good Start to Entitlement Reform

By Robert Romano

One of the first orders of business the House of Representatives under Speaker John Boehner’s reign will be to repeal the ObamaCare legislation. The bill included a massive expansion of the Medicaid program with 23.8 million potential new enrollees as well as taxpayer-subsidized coverage of up to 400 percent of the poverty level for those aged 25-65, or another 63.6 million covered at some level. That means there are about 91.5 million people eligible for ObamaCare.

If the average cost for new Medicaid enrollees is $4,950 federally — that’s about what it is today — Medicaid costs could rise approximately $117.8 billion a year. And if the average cost for the subsidized insurance exchanges is about $1,500 per person, the costs there will be about $95.4 billion annually. That’s $213.2 billion in new spending each year once the program is fully implemented, or a $2.13 trillion ten-year price tag.

Some studies have quibbled that some of the higher cost estimates of ObamaCare assume universal participation, such as Kaiser Family Foundation, which assumes a standard participation rate in Medicaid of only 57 percent, even with the individual mandate to carry health insurance. However, considering the individual mandate, and the fact that 96 percent of seniors participate in the Medicare program, a near universal participation rate is not as far-fetched as these studies contend.
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