Fact Check: Obamacare’s $6,400 Voucher Question

President Obama again just cited the old saw that premium support will cost seniors $6,400 per year.  Those claims have been widely debunked elsewhere.  But it’s worth highlighting the $6,400 voucher question included in Obamacare itself…

As we previously noted, if President Obama thinks that premium support is a “voucher” program, then that means Obamacare is a voucher program as well.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 20 million people will get vouchers to buy health insurance under Obamacare.  But that’s not all the Congressional Budget Office has said.  Back in June, CBO noted that beginning in 2019, the amount of the Obamacare voucher would not keep up with inflation:

The shares of income that enrollees have to pay will increase more rapidly than in the preceding years, and the shares of the premiums that the [vouchers] cover will decline….A smaller percentage of people will be eligible for [vouchers] over time because incomes are projected to increase more quickly than the eligibility thresholds, and federal [vouchers] will cover a declining share of the premiums over time…

A May 2011 CBO analysis gives one hypothetical example.  Under Obamacare, beginning in 2019, premium costs for individuals could rise by 10-12 percent every year – while the amount of the voucher could rise by less than three percent.  According to CBO, if Obamacare is not repealed or amended, virtually all Americans will be forced to buy health insurance – but fewer and fewer individuals will qualify for vouchers over time, and those vouchers will pay a smaller and smaller share of overall insurance premiums.

So while President Obama levels false accusations about the higher costs seniors will pay under premium support proposals due to inadequate “vouchers,” the truth is there’s only one proposal that guarantees Americans will have inadequate vouchers to pay for health insurance.  That proposal is Obamacare itself.