ObamaCare's Expensive Exchanges


The White House apparently thinks ObamaCare needs more money—to the tune of more than $100 billion. Over at Forbes, Avik Roy notices that the latest administration budget proposal calls for an additional $111 billion to be spent on the insurance subsidies for the law's health insurance  exchanges between 2014 and 2021. Though the White House hasn't explained the change, the difference may suggest that the administration now believes more individuals will end up enrolled in the exchanges than initially projected, as a number of analyses have suggested is possible. The considerable expense of the exchange subsidies means that if significantly more people end up purchasing subsidized insurance through exchanges than expected, the law could be in serious fiscal trouble.

How big a risk are the exchanges? It's hard to say exactly, but taking a larger view, ObamaCare's record so far does not exactly give me confidence in the likelihood that it will stay within initial budget parameters: The early retiree reinsurance program blew through its funding far faster than expected; despite low enrollment; nine states have already requested additional money for their high-risk pools (although overall the program has still not spend through its initial funding); and despite repeated promises that the administration would rework the law's long-term care benefit to make it fiscally sustainable, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius eventually admitted that they couldn't figure out how to do so, and shuttered the program. Yes, we're still early in the implementation of the law, and the exchanges are a much bigger undertaking than any of these programs. But the little we've seen so far does not bode well for the rest of the program. 

NEXT: New Ron Paul Ad Calls Romney a "Flip-Flopper"--Does That Count as an Attack?

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  1. “Damn girl, you got a fuckable neck.”

    1. “Does it hurt when I do that?”

      “Uh, ye-es.”

      1. “Now you children will all SIT QUIETLY while Mr. Obama tells us about his work!”

        1. ** from the back row **

          Is it OK if we stand idly by?

  2. “Damn, no cleavage.”

  3. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [to Igor] Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck’s?
    Igor: [pause, then] No.
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    Igor: Then you won’t be angry?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.
    Igor: Abby someone.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby someone. Abby who?
    Igor: Abby… Normal.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Normal?
    Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [chuckles, then] Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?
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    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Is that what you’re telling me?
    Share this quote

    1. One of my favorite movie moments. I almost injured myself laughing at that the first time I saw Young Frankenstein.

      1. “WHAT KNOCKERS!”

        “Why, thank you doctor.”

    2. “Werewolf?”
      “There wolf. There castle.”
      “Why are you talking like that?”
      “I dunno, I thought you wanted to.”

  4. Since they are “high risk” wouldn’t that necessarily mean they are going to be expensive? I mean if there was money to be made insuring these people, they would already have insurance.

    1. I mean if there was money to be made insuring these people, they would already have insurance.

      No, see, because greedy korpurashunz don’t want to help people, even if it means making money. They hate the sick more than they love profit, which is why we have to tax them so much.

  5. She saying her own name repeatedly into the mic for the sound check.

  6. There’s always a high demand for Free Stuff. Who knew?

  7. blew through it’s funding

    What is it with political writers and spelling? Get a sports writer to proofread your article next time.

    1. Is the improper use of “it’s” a spelling issue or a grammar issue?

  8. Will Obamacare cure wrinkly necks?

    1. Eventually.

      (I keed! I keed!)

    2. Nope! Got a wrinkly neck…get a trip to a Death Panel!

    3. It swells up and tightens when she’s startled.

      1. Does it change color and throb when she’s aroused?

        1. No. Her ballsack does.

  9. Obamacare is going to be proven to be impossible to implement and will collapse under it’s own weight. The sad part is that they’ll probably replace parts of it with more unworkable crap.

    1. Obamacare is going to be proven to be impossible to implement

      Only after we spend mucho dinero trying.

      1. We’re going to adopt Mexican currency?

        1. When it’s worth more than the dollar in a few years? Quite possibly.

    2. Behold Masturbatin’ Pete’s First Law of Regulation:

      “Problems in any regulated industry are successfully blamed on a portion of the industry that remains unregulated.”

      And don’t forget Masturbatin’ Pete’s Secpnd Law of Regulation:

      “Unintended consequences have never been regulated out of existence, but this time is different because we’re smart and virtuous.”

      1. Actually, you’re forgetting the First Law of Bureaucracy:

        A perfect world is a controlled world.

        And the Second Law of Bureaucracy:

        An absence of laws is lawlessness, and an absence of rules is anarchy.

        Why do you want anarchy? Letting markets make their own rules? CRAZY TALK!

  10. an additional $111 billion to be spent on the insurance subsidies

    At some point (which is probably already incorporated in the “plan”) it will be cheaper to just hire doctors directly to work in “free” government clinics.

  11. At some point (which is probably already incorporated in the “plan”) it will be cheaper to just hire doctors directly to work in “free” government clinics.

    If there’s a Fabian-style plan-plan behind Obamacare, it’s that once Big Health recoups its lobbying investment (+100,000,000% or so) via the insurance mandate/etc., we’ll be left with a medical delivery system so fucked up and impervious to signal that outright nationalization really is better for consumers, and so they’ll rationally (if not wisely) demand it.

    “Market failure!”

    1. AuH20’s First Law of Government:

      The government never fails. Everything else simply fails the government.

  12. Lindsay Lohan: a ‘homebody’ these days, she says


    Court ordered ankle-bracelets will do that.

  13. The island of capitalism is polluting the sea of socialism.

  14. See, thats exactly what I am talking about dude.


  15. It’s how I get bait.

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