Forget about “Death Panels” (even though it was PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year). The most pervasive lie about Obamacare is that the ACA costs more than what was estimated.
How pervasive? A recent poll shows that a plurality of Americans (42%) believe that Obamacare has cost “more than expected”. Only 10% think it cost “about what was expected” and half that (5%) think it cost “less than what was expected”. That’s right, only 5% knew the right answer. In fact, the cost of the ACA has dropped five times in five years. Twice in the past year alone, the Congressional Budget Office has revised its estimated spending on the Affordable Care Act downward.
How can that be? After all the ACA provides generous subsidies for individuals purchasing health insurance and expanded Medicaid dramatically. Shouldn’t that cost a lot of money?
There are two reasons why Obamacare is costing far less than expected. First the good news — health care costs are growing at a far lower rate than they were before the ACA passed in 2009.
Second (and not as good news), fewer people are participating in Medicaid expansion than expected. This was mostly caused by the Supreme Court ruling that made it possible for states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. And 22 states did opt out (not surprisingly, all of them controlled by Republicans). This saved the federal government money.
To give you an idea of how much the feds are saving on health care costs, the government is spending less on health care now than it predicted in early 2010, and those predictions did not include any spending for Obamacare! And the reduction in health care costs are also reducing what the government is spending on Medicare. So it is fantastic that the ACA’s massive expansion in the number of people receiving health insurance can also result in a massive saving of money.
The only problem is that almost nobody knows the truth. Must be that damn Liberal media!