POLITICS

O'Donnell: Obamacare legal defense is a fraud

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

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I don't get to agree with Lawrence O'Donnell very often, but he made a great point on Morning Joe today about the administration's fraudulent legal defense of Obamacare in the Supreme Court this week. O'Donnell said:

First of all, there is no universal individual mandate here. ... the bill from its design leaves out over 20 million people. It leaves out legally 20 million of you, we are not going to do a thing. Every single tragic story you've heard about people losing homes and all those things, we just ... this bill attempts to cut the number of those stories in half. And only in half. And it has no ambition to ever get beyond that ever. So they are leaving out tens of millions of people from this mandate. From the Medicaid expansion form all of this stuff. And so the pretense is, if you let anyone out of the system they will freeload and then the system will be burdened by the freeloader, --- which by the way the system has a way to account for this within Medicaid spending its called disproportionate share. We know where they are. They show up in big urban hospital to cover it. --- It's a fraud to say that without this, without the mandate, you are going to have all these freeloaders. You are going to have 20 million of them at least anyway.

O'Donnell is not only correct, he is actually being a bit too generous to the Obama administration. According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate, if Obamacare is upheld and fully implemented there will still be 27 million uninsured Americans, aka "freeloaders," in 2022.

But life for these "freeloaders" will not be all that free. While some of them will qualify for exemptions, the rest of them will pay at least $9 billion in individual mandate fines in 2022. But they still will not get any health insurance.

So what does happen without the mandate? According to an earlier CBO report, if there was no mandate, Obamacare would provide health insurance for just 16 million fewer Americans by 2021. In other words, with the mandate about 10 percent of the population will still be uninsured in 2021. Without the mandate that number rises to 15 percent. As O'Donnell points, that would hardly crash the system.

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