OVERNIGHT HEALTH: O-Care will cost 2.5M workers, CBO says

The healthcare reform law will cost the nation the equivalent of 2.5 million workers in the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated Tuesday. The nonpartisan agency found the reform law’s negative effects on the economy would be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated.

It said the equivalent of 2.3 million workers would be lost by 2021, compared to its previous estimate of 800,000, and that 2.5 million workers would be lost by 2024. It also projected that labor force compensation would be reduced by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024 — twice its previous estimate — and that declining economic growth would add $1 trillion more to deficits.

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The revelations came as part of a wider report that concluded (1) that the government will actually pocket $8 billion in profit from ObamaCare's "risk corridors" program, which Republicans have called a bailout, and (2) that the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov and ongoing problems with the insurance exchanges will lower expected enrollments in private coverage and Medicaid by at least 1 million people each.

The Hill has full coverage of the report here, here and here.

Not worried: The White House on Tuesday brushed aside questions about a Congressional Budget Office report lowering estimates for first-year enrollment in the president's signature healthcare law, saying it remained “confident we're going to have a substantial number of Americans covered.”

The nonpartisan CBO downgraded its initial estimate of 7 million first-year enrollees in the federal exchange to 6 million, likely thanks to the botched early rollout of the law.

“The issues with the website have been well-documented and covered,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “And what is true today is that enrollment is ramping up and ramping up rapidly.”

Visit The Hill for more details.

No consensus: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said it wasn’t yet clear whether House Republicans could get enough of a consensus to pass an increase to the debt ceiling without help from Democrats.

GOP leaders are searching for a policy provision that can gain 217 Republican votes so they can send a bill to the Senate in advance of the late February deadline set by the Treasury Department to avert a default. Conservatives are pushing to repeal the “risk corridors” provision in the healthcare law, which they say could amount to a bailout of insurance companies.

The Hill has the story.

Animals sing for ObamaCare: No, really. A new national public service announcement features dogs, cats, birds and fish urging their owners to sign up for ObamaCare coverage.

The buy is worth at least $30 million in donated media time and is sponsored in part by the nonprofit Ad Council. Read more at Healthwatch.

Seeking a cure: Prominent drug makers are forming an alliance with the federal government to pool resources and coordinate efforts to fight chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's. The $230 million public-private partnership, announced Tuesday by the Obama administration, seeks to make progress against four key conditions by investigating their biology and encouraging the development of new drugs.

Under the five year program, 10 drug companies will share personnel, research and samples with the National Institutes of Health in an effort to identify new disease treatments. The targeted conditions will be Alzheimer's, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Healthwatch has the rest of the story.


Wednesday's schedule

The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on ObamaCare's "risk corridors" program.

Two subcommittees of the same panel will examine the law's Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, Program later in the afternoon.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will look at the Food Safety Modernization Act in a hearing.


State by state

Fla. lawmakers push bills banning biometric scans of school children

Report finds Ore. Medicaid patients visiting ER less frequently

Miss. bill proposes abortion ban after 20 weeks

Nev.'s Medicaid caseload grows, hits backlog of 50,000 applicants


Reading list

US says no evidence O-Care software written in Belarus

Medicare doc pay change would boost patient coordination

New rule gives patients direct access to their lab reports


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

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Koch brothers group hits Hagan, Rahall

Bill would expand access to O-Care tax credits

Dems decry exclusion from O-Care meeting

Poll: 51 percent disapprove of ObamaCare