Obamacare subsidies push health costs
That assistance helped lower premiums for consumers who bought health coverage on the federal marketplaces by 76 percent on average, according to the new report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
While the generous subsidies helped consumers, they also risk inflating the new health law’s price tag in its first year.
That total does not count the additional cost of providing coverage to millions of additional consumers who bought coverage in states that ran their own marketplaces, including California, Connecticut, Maryland and New York. About a third of the 8 million people who signed up for coverage this year used a state-run marketplace.
If these state consumers received roughly comparable government assistance for their insurance premiums, the total cost of subsidies could top $16.5 billion this year.
Obama administration officials Tuesday focused on the availability of affordable coverage for millions more consumers.
But officials who worked on the report refused to speak on the record or discuss the potential impact of the subsidies on the long-term cost of the health law.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in April that the annual cost of subsidies will rise to $23 billion next year and $95 billion in 2024, although the budget office continued to project that all the law’s costs will be offset by additional revenue it raises and by cuts in other federal healthcare spending.
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