The Hill: CBO cuts estimates for health law’s mandates

By Sam Baker – 05/14/13 03:44 PM ET
Unpopular taxes and mandates in President Obama’s healthcare law will be weaker than expected, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday.

The CBO said fewer people will be affected by the law’s individual mandate, and fewer businesses will have to pay penalties for not offering health benefits to their employees.

Those mandates are among the most politically unpopular elements of the healthcare law. But if the penalties affect fewer people, they’ll also bring in less revenue to help the government pay for the health law’s coverage expansion.


The CBO released revised estimates Tuesday of the cost of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions — a slice of policies that includes the new coverage options and certain coverage-related penalties, but not the wide array of taxes and savings that provide most of the law’s total deficit reduction. 

The net cost of the coverage provisions rose by $40 billion over 10 years, compared with the budget office’s February estimates. The added cost is mostly a result of lower income from taxes and penalties.

The cost of expanding Medicaid and providing subsidies for private insurance fell by about $74 billion. Those policies will now cost the government roughly $1.8 trillion over 10 years, according to the CBO.

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