Friday, November 8, 2013

"Only 5 Percent" Could Come Back to Bite the ACA

Over the last little while, the defenders of the ACA have been making the argument that those hit by losing their existing coverage are "only" 5 percent of Americans.  Leaving aside the fact that many believe this is not true (and I plan on a more in depth post on winners and losers this weekend), let's try to put the 5 percent number in context.

If we look at the ACA impacts as projected by the CBO and reduce them to percentages of the US population, we get the following (by 2017):

Newly covered under Medicaid - 3.9%
Covered in exchanges (no subsidies) - 1.2%
Covered in exchanges (with subsidies) - 6.3%

So, even were we to assume that all people covered in the exchanges are better off (they aren't for reasons I'll go into this weekend), the byzantine portion of the ACA (as opposed to the straight up Medicaid expansion) affects "only" 6% of Americans.

I wonder when we'll hear that out of the White House.

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