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Supreme Court Medicaid Ruling to Leave 36 Million Uninsured in 2016: CBO

July 25, 2012
Related Topics: Medical Benefits Law, Health Care Reform, Health Care Costs, Health Care Benefits, Latest News

Congressional analysts have increased their estimate of the number of uninsured U.S. residents in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a health care reform law provision that would have financially punished states if they did not expand Medicaid eligibility.

In March, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that in 2016—two years after several key provisions of the reform law go into effect—that 32 million U.S. residents would be uninsured, down from the current estimate of 53 million.

But in an analysis released July 24, CBO now estimates that 36 million U.S. residents will be uninsured in 2016.

The revised estimate is due to last month's Supreme Court decision that struck down a reform law provision in which states would have lost all federal Medicaid funding if they did not boost the maximum income residents could earn and still be eligible for Medicaid coverage.

CBO said it now anticipates "that some states will not expand their programs at all or will not expand coverage to the full extent authorized" by the Patient Protection an Affordable Care Act.

A smaller reduction in the number of uninsured could negatively affect employers as the amount of uncompensated care—a cost that health care providers now try to shift in the form of higher charges to patients with health insurance—will not decline as much as providers had initially hoped.

Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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