How to Save $35 Billion the Easy Way


Tuesday September 10th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 7:03am PDT   •  

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We can all agree that there’s nothing easier than doing nothing, right?

As it happens, there’s an easy way that the U.S. federal government can do nothing and save itself $35 billion worth of potentially wasteful spending. All it has to do is follow through on H.R. 2668, the bill that has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives that would delay implementing the individual mandate of ObamaCare for just one year, the part requiring every individual American either buy health insurance or pay a special tax to the I.R.S., and according to the Congressional Budget Office, it would save U.S. taxpayers $35 billion over the next 10 years!

The House bill to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate would save $35 billion dollars, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis.

After the Obama administration revealed it would not enforce the employer mandate—a requirement that large companies provide their employees health insurance—until January 2015, the House quickly passed a measure that would not only codify that delay, but put off the individual mandate by one year as well.

The CBO found that just a one-year delay of the individual mandate would save $35 billion over ten years. But the basic cost structure of the Affordable Care Act would remain intact.

This is the sort of thing that should be a no-brainer, especially after President Obama already granted a one-year delay to big U.S. businesses for implementing their portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”). That move actually increases both the federal government’s budget deficit and the national debt, because President Obama’s action means that the affected businesses will be excused from having to pay their ObamaCare penalty taxes until 2015.

Back in 2012, CBO estimated that the employer penalty would reduce the deficit by about $4 billion in fiscal year 2014. But by zeroing out the penalty, the administration will not only forfeit the revenue it would have collected, but it will have removed an incentive for employers to provide coverage themselves. That probably means more workers than expected will land in the exchanges, many of whom will receive subsidies to purchase insurance themselves, which will increase spending under the law and diminish its deficit reducing potential.

The House bill, if passed into law, would represent a step toward correcting the poor and seemingly arbitrary decision-making processes taking place within the Obama administration these days. As such, it is a much needed step toward an improved level of policy coherence in the White House, but really, anything that would reduce the level of uncertainty related to ObamaCare would be a good thing.

In this case, the CBO’s analysis clearly indicates that the nation’s fiscal situation would certainly be better all around if the individual health insurance mandate and its penalties were also delayed just as long as the employer health insurance mandate and its penalties will be. Doing nothing in the form of delaying the implementation of ObamaCare is the correct, and easy, call to make.

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