The figment of affordable health care
Obamacare’s costs begin to add up to the disaster the skeptics predicted
Buying something without knowing the price is foolish. President Obama sold Obamacare to America by hiding the price tag, and five years later it’s clear that there’s still no such thing as a free lunch, or free health-care insurance, either. Foolish people who thought the cost of compulsory health care didn’t matter because someone else would pay for it are learning that when big government gets bigger, everyone pays.
The latest cost of the president’s salute to socialism is the lost labor supply. The Congressional Budget Office issued a 22-page report earlier this month with the bad news: “The labor force is projected to be about 2 million full-time-equivalent workers smaller in 2025 under the [Affordable Care Act] than it would have been otherwise.” Across the labor market, workers are expected to respond to the effects of the health care law by working fewer hours.
Even if paychecks shrink, insurance premiums will not. The cost of medium-priced “silver” insurance plans is expected to rise an average of 7.5 percent in 2016, much steeper than the rate of inflation, which so far in 2015 is only 0.2 percent. With monthly premiums exceeding $1,000 and annual deductibles exceeding $13,000 for those ineligible for government subsidies, many families won’t be able to afford to see their doctor except for annual checkups, which are “free.”
Millions of Americans choose to pay the Obamacare penalty instead. In the new year, that penalty will rise to $695 per adult, or 2.5 percent of taxable income. The Senate Budget Committee projects the cost of Obamacare through 2023 will come to $2.6 trillion. The president’s free lunch is expensive.