And it could have been a lot less intrusive.

There’s never been any secret that if the US [government] was willing to spend an extra $100 billion or more, it could subsidize health insurance for a lot more people.

This pithy statement is from Timothy Taylor, “Affordable Care Act: Costs of Expanding Coverage,” March 28.

In his piece, he works his way through a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.”

The CBO report states:

To separate the effects of the ACA’s [Affordable Care Act’s] coverage provisions from those broader estimates, CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] compared their current projections with estimates of what would have occurred if the ACA had never been enacted. In 2016, those provisions are estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by 22 million and to result in a net cost to the federal government of $110 billion.

Notice that that’s $5,000 per person, not per household. It would have been much more straightforward simply to expand the number of people subsidized rather than to make the majority of people under age 65 go through hoops and lose insurance they liked, and have a paternalistic (and not a nice parent, either) government design health insurance plans, screw younger medium- and high-income people, and take the insurance component out of health insurance.