Too many Americans have lost sight of the pluses of the health-care law that was upheld last month by the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's a refresher:
No one can be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Insurers are barred from capping the dollar value of care given a patient with a chronic illness. Young adults can stay on their parents' policies until they turn 26.
Small businesses and nonprofits will be eligible for a tax credit to offset the cost of covering employees. Insurance companies may spend no more than 20 percent of premium dollars on marketing and other overhead. Ultimately, an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans will be covered by 2022.
Despite these benefits and the court's assent, Republican critics of Obamacare continue to make election-year denunciations of the law, even alleging that it will expand the nation's deficits -- Mitt Romney says by "trillions" of dollars.
A far different analysis came last week from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It said the Affordable Care Act will reduce federal deficits over the next 10 years by $84 billion. It added, in response to a request from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, that a bill before the Republican-controlled House to repeal the 2010 law would raise deficits by $109 billion in the next decade.
The CBO said the reduced deficit estimate is largely the result of the Supreme Court's decision making the law's Medicaid expansion an option for states. The budget office projects that 3 million fewer uninsured Americans, of the previously projected 33 million, will get coverage.
That will make the act's insurance coverage provisions cost $1.168 trillion through 2022, not $1.252 trillion, as estimated in March. Even so, the CBO restated its conclusion that the spending controls and revenue collections mandated by the health law would cut annual deficits in the future.
Among the revenues the CBO anticipates from the law are $55 billion in tax penalties from those who do not buy insurance, and $117 billion from employers who offer no coverage to their workers.
The health-care law is not perfect. The nation needs to do far more to prevent illness by reducing obesity and smoking. The health-care industry must ramp up efforts to educate more professionals to meet growing demand.
The CBO report is an updated assessment of the real cost of the overhaul. Americans would be wise to believe impartial analysts over politicians.