clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Today in Obamacare: The GOP says the law is “collapsing.” CBO says otherwise.

Florida Residents Sign Up For Affordable Care Act On Deadline Day Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CBO: Obamacare enrollment will stay steady next year, hit 13 million in 2027. One of Republicans’ favorite ways to describe Obamacare is as “collapsing.”

“We’re acting quickly because Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight, and things will continue to get worse otherwise,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a January 9 op-ed for Fox News.

“Obamacare is collapsing,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said at a press conference this week. “Don’t forget that.”

The latest data from the Congressional Budget Office, however, begs to differ. The nonpartisan budget agency released its long-term economic forecast earlier today, which predicts that enrollment in the Obamacare marketplaces will increase slightly and then hold constant for the next decade.

To be clear: The insurance marketplaces are way smaller than CBO had initially expected. Back when the law passed, the agency estimated that there would be 26 million people in the marketplace in 2017. We’re on pace to have a market less than half that size. A market with more people would likely have lower premiums, as it would mean more healthy people had decided to join.

Though the Obamacare marketplaces are smaller, they’re not, in CBO’s view, anywhere near collapsing. They are on pace to provide a relatively small but stable number of Americans with health coverage. This is in line with a memo that the ratings agency S&P put out last month, which projected that if the ACA stays in place, “2017 will likely see continued improvement [in the marketplaces], with more insurers getting close to breakeven or better.”

Cassidy-Collins is the new health care hotness. Really! I wrote an explainer of the bill here. If you want to read more, I recommend:

Healthcare.gov is still up and tweeting. The Huffington Post reports that some Health and Human Services sub-agencies have received orders not to speak with the press or “send any correspondence to public officials.” An official at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells me their department has not received any such order.

To that point, it is notable that the Twitter account for Healthcare.gov has remained very much alive and tweeting about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even into the Trump administration. A few examples:

Kliff’s Notes: Today’s top 3 health policy reads

“Obamacare Repeal Threatens a Health Benefit Popular in Coal Country”: “The Affordable Care Act includes special provisions that make the process of getting black lung benefits easier for coal miners. If the ACA is repealed, gaining these benefits could become much more difficult, effectively harming a group of people that President Trump has promised to protect.”

“Price refuses to promise no one will lose coverage under Trump’s Obamacare order”: “Price said he couldn't make any commitment to how he'll wield Trump's executive order until he's in place at HHS. His "first action" as HHS secretary would be studying how the order applies to the department, he said.”

“Revenge of the hoodie: Martin Shkreli fires back at the drug industry”: While this is not Obamacare news, per say, the exchange where Martin Shkreli refers to himself multiple times in the third person as “pharma bro,” ending with him exclaiming “pharma bro out,” was too delightful to leave out.


Watch: Republicans have one major problem on Obamacare

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.