Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Delayed Legislation


Many commentators, especially conservative ones, are saying that Obamacare’s taxes and Medicare cuts will hit almost immediately, while its benefits won’t kick in until later. This is somewhat misleading, and perhaps not the expectation that we want voters to have. According to the Congressional Budget Office, not much of anything will hit before 2013 — except for some new regulations.    Based on the bill that the House just passed — including the amendments that have now been sent over to the Senate — the CBO says that only 1 percent of Obamacare’s costs (for the period from 2010 to 2019) would hit before 2013, that only 2 percent of its taxes would hit before then, and that only 1 percent of its Medicare cuts would hit before then. One thing that people would feel a bit more fully is the Medicare Advantage cuts (except in South Florida). Still, only 6 percent of those would hit before then.    So, by the time of the 2012 election, Obamacare will be on the books, but essentially not in operation. If people don’t think it seems too bad by then, it will be because they haven’t yet experienced it.    It’s true that by the start of 2014 (rather than 2013), almost none of the benefits would yet be in effect — only 2 percent would be — but more of the pain would start to be felt, as 8 percent of the taxes, 5 percent of overall the Medicare cuts, and 13 percent of the Medicare Advantage cuts, would have taken effect. But the larger message is this: Essentially none of this hits before 2013, which leaves plenty of time for (full) repeal, and then real reform.


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