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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

Obamacare pricetag just keeps on rising

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It was just two years ago that this current administration was able to push through Obamacare - the proposed national health insurance that was designed to solve the financial and access problem of health insurance.

The questions that circled that ambitious program involved the forced mandate that will compel millions of uninsured to enter the market. One of the larger questions was the lack of available medical providers to cover this new emerging market.

But outside of the forced mandate, it was the cost of the program that was the deal breaker. Estimated at $984 billion over 10 years, a cash-strapped public wanted to know how the plan would be paid for.

Well now comes the Congressional Budget Office which last week upped the cost estimate of Obamacare to nearly $2 trillion over the same 10 years period.

In the business community, an estimate that was that far from accurate would be cause for dismissal. We can only hope the same yardstick applies to our federal government.

This summer, the United States Supreme Court will put an end to much of this discussion when they decide the future of Obamacare.

And with that timing - in the middle of a Presidential campaign - you can rest assured that the court's discussions will be a major part of the brouhaha that decides the eventual outcome in November.

When a cost estimate is that far off base, one of two things has to happen. Either the original cost factors omitted some critical data that impacted the result. Or the original estimate was so flawed - either intentionally or stupidly - that it leaves you wondering just how someone could be that wrong.

I tend to think - in my cynical fashion - that the administration fudged the numbers downward to avoid the obvious panic and to smooth the way for the bill's passage. And all of the gnashing of teeth right now can't undo the vote that was taken.

But the Supreme Court can change all of that.

If the high court rules that the individual mandate is indeed legal, then the Obama team will crow until election day of their great success.

If however, the high court rules against the mandate, then the entire bill will fail under its own weight.

I don't know if the new massive cost estimate will factor into the court's decision. But their decision will likely impact the election outcome.

It's funny how $2 trillion can get your attention!

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen