New analysis: 'Obamacare' coverage costs rising

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government study released Thursday forecasts that the health care coverage costs of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature legislative legacy, are going up. The measure still, on balance, more than pays for itself.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis says the health care law will cost $1.34 trillion over the coming decade, $136 billion more than the CBO predicted a year ago. That 11 percent hike is mostly caused by higher-than-expected enrollment in the expanded Medicaid program established under the law.

All told, 22 million more people will have health care coverage this year than if the law had never been enacted, CBO said. The measure's coverage provisions are expected to cost $110 billion this year. The number of uninsured people this year is anticipated at 27 million. About 90 percent of the U.S. population will have coverage, a percentage is expected to remain stable into the future.

Taking seniors covered by Medicare out of the equation, the government devotes $660 billion to subsidizing health care for people under 65, including the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled and tax benefits for employer-provided health insurance.

The agency did not provide a new estimate of Obamacare's overall impact on the federal deficit, other than to say that it is, on net, expected to reduce the deficit. The law included a roster of tax increases and cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers to pay for coverage expansion.

CBO is a nonpartisan congressional agency that does budget forecasts and cost estimates of legislation.