Cornell professor of policy analysis Dr. Richard Burkhauser, along with Sean Lyons and Indiana University’s Dr. Kosali Simon, has released a study showing that the ObamaCare legislation provides a significant incentive for employers and their employees to take advantage of the taxpayer subsidized insurance exchange.

According to their policy brief, a very conservative estimate of the response to these incentives shows the number of Americans insured by the employer actually drop, with an additional four million people in the government exchange more than policymakers intended at a cost of nearly $20 billion over the $18 billion they expected. This staggering number doesn’t even reflect the fact that many firms are going to drop coverage, a phenomenon McKinsey Quarterly says is going to strike nearly a third of employers.

Where the study gets truly frightening is its more realistic estimate, which takes into account the “accountability” clause in the employer mandate:

If we further allow a broad interpretation of the employer mandate—where “affordability” means employers must make coverage affordable for individuals and their families—the changes are even more dramatic. Employer-sponsored coverage plummets from 74 to 66 percent, with nearly one-quarter of the country’s working-age insured population—over 21 million people—receiving their insurance through the exchange.

This scenario, in which the researchers considered the full reach of the employer mandate and requisite premium adjustments, shows subsidies climbing to more than $66 billion.

In their conclusion, the researchers lament the fact that they have to make assumptions about the meaning of key language in legislation a year after it was passed. Apparently we can’t find out what’s in it even after it passed.

(H/T Cornell Chronicle)