CBO: Health law repeal adds $230 billion to deficit
By SARAH KLIFF | 1/6/11
Republicans kicked off the first day of congressional proceedings to overturn health reform with unwelcome news: a Congressional Budget Office estimate that repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion by 2021.
The nonpartisan CBO’s preliminary analysis of the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, released Thursday morning, bolstered Democrats’ claims that overturning the health law would wreak havoc on the deficit. The CBO score on the Affordable Care Act has it decreasing the deficit by $143 billion over 10 years. But that figure is disputed by Republicans.
“CBO and JCT estimated that the March 2010 health care legislation would reduce budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period and in subsequent years; consequently, we expect that repealing that legislation would increase the budget deficit,” CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote in his analysis.
The analysis also finds that, under repeal, with the ACA’s subsidies abolished, fewer Americans would have health insurance and those who purchased it in the individual market would pay more for insurance.
The House Rules Committee meets Thursday on the health repeal legislation with a procedural vote scheduled for Friday and a floor vote next Wednesday. The new Republican rules will say that no bills can pass if they add to the deficit, but Republicans are making an exception to their own rules for the repeal bill.
Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, brushed off the estimate as faulty accounting.
“There is no one that believes the Washington Democrats’ job-killing health care law will lower costs, because it won’t. That’s why we pledged to repeal it and replace it with common-sense reforms that will actually work,” he told POLITICO. “As Budget [Committee] Chairman Paul Ryan has noted, the CBO score excludes the $115 billion needed to implement the law. It double-counts $521 billion in Social Security payroll taxes, CLASS Act premiums and Medicare cuts. It strips a costly doc-fix provision that was included in the initial score. It measures 10 years of revenues to offset six years of new spending. Even the administration’s own actuaries have said it won’t reduce the deficit.”