Back in February, Republicans attacked Democrats over a CBO report showing that the health-care law was reducing labor supply by about 2 million workers in 2017. “Obamacare to print even more pink slips,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said (even though the report was talking about workers’ desire to remain in the workforce, not about whether employers think the law is too costly to hire people). But a new CBO report released Monday now has Democrats celebrating and Republicans relatively silent.
According to the budget office, the health-care law is estimated to cost $5 billion less than the previous projection for 2014, and $104 billion less than the projection for 2015-2024. Perhaps more importantly, the report says that health-care premiums are lower than originally expected — the average cost of a “silver” plan is estimated to be about $3,800 in 2014, down from previous estimates.
All this isn’t to say that the law is in hunky-dory shape: We don’t know what the premiums will be for 2015, and we don’t know the demographic mix of the millions of Americans who have signed up in the exchanges. But what this CBO report does is paint a MUCH MORE nuanced portrait of the health-care law than opponents would believe. Bottom line: Obamacare has now enjoyed maybe its best two weeks of news (CBO report, 7.5 million sign-ups) since the law’s passage in 2010.