Health Care Reform

‘More Coverage and Less Spending’ Defines Obama’s Health Care Legacy

 Obama speaks about ACA

President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 3, 2016. Source: AP/Carolyn Kaster

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–March 25, 2016.  A new analysis from the Center for American Progress looks at how federal health programs are covering more people while spending less money. Just yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, published data that might have surprised even the staunchest advocates for health care reform: New estimates show that total federal spending in fiscal year 2016 for major health care programs will be lower than projected back in January 2009, shortly before President Barack Obama took office.

CAP’s analysis compares the CBO’s projected 2016 health spending from January 2009 before the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and its current 2016 estimate. The findings demonstrate that not only is the ACA working, but the federal government is providing more health care coverage to people while spending less.

“This new data shows that the ACA has dramatically exceeded expectations, with federal health programs covering more people and spending less money,” said Harry Stein, Director of Fiscal Policy at CAP. “In particular, Medicare reforms in the ACA are unambiguously responsible for a significant portion of the Medicare savings relative to the CBO’s January 2009 projections.”

While the ACA expansion of coverage adds new costs, total spending for federal health programs is still less than what the CBO projected in January 2009 because of huge savings from Medicare. The CBO’s projections for FY 2016 Medicare spending have fallen $107 billion since January 2009. In those January 2009 projections, the CBO estimated that Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, would cost $1.168 trillion in FY 2016—a projection that did not include the future coverage expansion under the ACA. Yet the CBO now estimates that Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA will cost $1.128 trillion in FY 2016.

Read the full column, The Obama Health Care Legacy: More Coverage and Less Spending by Harry Stein.

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