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From Health Law Daily, September 10, 2013

Delaying individual mandate would increase number of uninsured by 11 million in 2014: CBO

By Paul Clark

The number of Americans without health insurance would increase by 11 million – to a total of 55 million people – in 2014 if Congress was successful in passing legislation that delays the individual mandate to purchase insurance by one year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The federal budget deficit would also decrease by about $36 billion from 2014 to 2018 if the legislation was enacted.

On July 17, the House passed HR 2668, the “Fairness for American Families Act.” The legislation delays until 2015 the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, or pay a penalty. The House passed this legislation soon after the Obama administration delayed by one year the employer mandate to offer insurance to employees, or pay a penalty. Title II of the legislation would codify the one-year delay in the employer mandate.

Insurance coverage. The CBO determined that if the individual mandate stays in effect for 2014, 13 million more people would have insurance compared to the number of insured without the mandate in effect. The total number of uninsured would be 44 million in 2014. If the mandate was delayed for a year, however, the CBO determined that five million fewer people would be covered by either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program; four million fewer people would have employer-based coverage; and two million fewer people would be covered in the individual health insurance market.

Federal budget outlays would decrease in the short term because fewer people would be covered by Medicaid or CHIP and fewer people would receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance through the new state-cased health insurance marketplaces.

The Senate has not taken up consideration of the House legislation.

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