by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The press would have you believe that the objections of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., have scuttled any attempt by the Biden administration and Democrats to pass a big-government agenda. But a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proves the false nature of that media narrative.
The report, compiled at the request of several Senate Republicans, illustrates the effects of a permanent extension of the increase in Obamacare subsidies Democrats enacted in last year’s “Covid relief” spending blowout. If made permanent — as Democrats have wanted to do practically since the moment these “temporary” subsidies passed — this additional welfare spending would undermine private health care coverage, while worsening inflation and increasing the deficit by $248 billion over its first 10 years.
Despite these harmful effects, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to ram through an extension of these enhanced subsidies — paid for by a raid on the Medicare program — before Congress breaks for its August vacation. The details contained within the report illustrate that the left’s lust for more control over the health care system remains alive and well.
While the report claims that on net, extending the subsidies would reduce the number of uninsured by 2.2 million, CBO also notes that the number of people with employer-sponsored coverage would decline by a greater number — 2.3 million people in total. In addition, enrollment in government plans like Medicaid would increase by 200,000.
Why would these changes take place? The budget agencies believe that the richer subsidies would encourage at least some employers to stop offering health coverage to their workers. …
… Some reports suggest that Democrats may try to extend the enhanced Obamacare subsidies for “only” an additional two years. But CBO notes that any attempt to make the subsidies closer to permanent — and even another “temporary” extension may qualify — could cause employers to drop coverage and dump their workers into the Obamacare exchanges.