The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, will cost the U.S. government $5 billion less than previously estimated in 2014, analysis released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office indicates.
What's more, CBO estimates that 12 million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 than if Obamacare had not become law.
Further, U.S. budget deficits over the next decade will be $286 billion less than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday, attributing much of the decline to lower estimates of subsidy costs under President Barack Obama's health insurance reform law, Reuters reported.
The nonpartisan CBO, in revisions to its annual budget estimates, said the fiscal 2014 deficit would fall to $492 billion from $514 billion estimated in February. The forecasts assume no changes to current tax and spending laws, Reuters reported.
The agency attributed the current year's decline to technical revisions to the way it estimates spending on discretionary programs. But from fiscal 2015 onward, it estimates a $186 billion decline in outlays for health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, Reuters reported. This reflects a lower projection of premiums charged for health care plans offered through government-run exchanges, CBO said, based on an updated analysis of plans now being offered.
Overall, the budget referee agency now projects cumulative 10-year deficits at $7.62 trillion compared to its previous forecast of $7.9 trillion, Reuters reported.
In addition to the lower health insurance subsidy costs, CBO also estimated a $98 billion, 10-year reduction in Medicare outlays due to lower spending on prescription drugs and hospital insurance. Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, would see a $29 billion reduction, CBO said.
CBO lowered its 10-year cost estimate for the federal food stamps program by $24 billion, based on new data from the Department of Agriculture on monthly average benefits.