Last week I wrote about one of the Republican bills to change the Obamacare law by excusing large employers from the mandate to provide health insurance for employees who worked between 30 and 39 hours a week.
The point of that piece was to focus on what I considered the deceptive language used by by Sen. Tim Scott, a Senate sponsor of the law, who suggested that employers who cut workers from 40 to 29 hours in order to avoid having to provide insurance benefits would be “complying” with the law, rather than seeking to defeat its purpose.
This morning, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the House version of the bill, titled the “Save American Workers Act,” which The Hill says has been touted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a top legislative priority for Republicans.
CBO concludes that the bill’s effects would increase deficits by $74 billion over the next 10 years, reduce the number of people who would otherwise have employer-subsidized health insurance by 1 million, increase the number who would end up getting insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by something between half a million and a million, and therefore result in an increase in the total number of uninsured by half a million or less. The increase in the deficit would mostly come from the cost of increasing those on government-provided health care and reducing the amount the Treasury would collect in penalties that the government would impose on employers who don’t provide insurance.
As I said in the previous post, the Obamacare case is extremely complicated with many moving parts. Efforts to amend it likewise have complicated costs and benefits. Those who now say they want to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act should be pressed to be specific and substantive about their alternative ideas for reducing the number of uninsured Americans, so the complicated costs and benefits can be assessed.