Will the individual mandate be ruled unconstitutional or repealed?
Starting in 2014, Obamacare requires everyone to buy government-approved health insurance, but many question whether the mandate will go into effect. First, its very legality is being challenged, with numerous states engaged in litigation against this provision. Second, polls consistently show public opposition to the mandate, with at least one state having passed a referendum against it. Finally, there are serious questions as to whether the IRS can even enforce the individual mandate. Given these facts, the future of the mandate is questionable.
Source: Background on the Individual Mandate
What percent of the over $450 billion in Medicare cuts scheduled to occur under Obamacare will actually take place?
Starting in 2011, the new law makes large cuts in the Medicare program, including cuts in Medicare Advantage. Moreover, the money gained from these cuts is not used to shore up the stability of Medicare; instead, the "savings" will be used to pay for another expensive entitlement. Reducing benefits for millions of Medicare beneficiaries makes Obamacare unpopular among senior groups. Consequently, a future Congress may be under significant pressure to reverse these cuts.
CMS Office of the Actuary report questioning the likelihood of the cuts (Read the Report)
Source: Background on Medicare Cuts
How many people will lose their current employer-sponsored health insurance?
The new law provides significant subsidies to low-income and moderate-income households to purchase health insurance, but these subsidies are available only to consumers who purchase coverage through the new government-designed health insurance exchanges. Will low- or moderate-income workers drop their company coverage and purchase through the exchange to take advantage of the subsidy? Estimates vary. The Congressional Budget Office assumes that only about 8 million out of 170 million people with job-based coverage will shift to the exchange; yet former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin says that 40 million workers could find that this option puts more money in their pockets.
Source: Background on Employer Coverage
What percent of Obamacare's "Cadillac Tax" on high-cost health plans will be collected?
Supporters of Obamacare have argued that the new tax on high-cost insurance plans (the so-called Cadillac tax) is instrumental for cost control, but the tax is highly unpopular with major unions. President Obama delayed the implementation of the tax until 2018... well past his presidency and four years after the major spending provisions kick in. Once the tax is in place, the number of people hit by it will increase quickly because the threshold used to determine high-cost plans is linked to the general consumer inflation rate, but increases in the cost of health plans has traditionally been far steeper than general inflation.
Source: Background on the Cadillac Tax
What percentage of Obamacare's new taxes on many health-related businesses will be passed on to consumers?
Obamacare imposes new taxes on medical device makers, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. Typically, when a supplier (insurance company, health care provider, etc.) is taxed, the cost of that tax is passed down to consumers (patients) in higher prices for medical care and goods, including higher insurance premiums.
Source: Background on Health Care Taxes
Will HIT (Health Information Technology) increase or lower health care costs?
Proponents of Obamacare suggest that HIT will reduce both inefficiencies in the health care system and unnecessary spending. Some analysts contend that HIT will reduce the nation's escalating health care costs by about one percentage point annually. CBO doesn't assume any significant savings as a result of increased funding of health information technology. Other analysts say that increased integration of HIT will actually raise health care costs because the increased efficiency will be offset by increased spending on electronic health records.
Source: Background on Health IT
How effective will Obamacare be at reducing Administrative Costs?
Today, administrative costs make up about 13 percent of private insurance premiums. These costs are driven primarily by marketing, medical underwriting, billing, and the variety of benefits offered in health plans. Like other costs, administrative costs are passed on to consumers in higher premiums and other health care costs. CBO has projected that average administrative savings for insurers will be roughly 1 percent. The Lewin Group estimates that because of the added costs from the new state-based insurance exchanges, administrative costs will increase under Obamacare by roughly 1 percent annually.
Source: Background on Administrative Costs