Politics

Federal Agency Significantly Drops Obamacare Growth Projections

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) significantly dropped its projections for Obamacare enrollments from 21 million to 13 million, according to its full 2016 budget report released Monday.

The number is a sharp contrast to last year’s estimates, which showed roughly 20 million people purchasing health care through the exchanges.

The CBO attributed the drop in numbers to unsubsidized consumers buying private insurance instead.

“Most of the unsubsidized people who are no longer expected to purchase insurance through an exchange are expected to purchase insurance directly from an insurer instead,” the report said.

While the number of enrollments is down, the congressional scorekeeper said the number of those receiving subsidies is up for fiscal year 2016 – with 11 million people expected to receive subsidies versus the 8 million in fiscal year 2015. The uptick in subsidies will cost an estimated 56 billion – an $18 billion increase from last year.

“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that about 11 million people will receive exchange subsidies, on average, during calendar year 2016, compared with an average of 8 million in 2015,” the report reads. “Additionally, the agencies project that about 2 million other people will purchase coverage through an exchange but will not be eligible for subsidies — for a total of 13 million people, on average, enrolled in policies purchased through exchanges.”

The nonpartisan agency also noted in its report it anticipates the deficit to skyrocket with mandatory outlays increasing by $168 billion from fiscal year 2015. This is largely because of spending increases on entitlements like Social Security that will go up by three percent; and Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program and Obamacare subsides which will increase by 11 percent or $104 billion.

The Senate Budget Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on the report Tuesday, but was forced to cancel due to snow. It has not been announced if or when the hearing will be rescheduled.

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