The Congressional Budget Office says repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit by $230 billion over the coming decade and by a modest amount in the decade after that. The CBO estimate has become the central defense by ACA advocates fighting the upcoming repeal vote in the House.
They might want to re-think their strategy. A close examination of CBO’s work and other evidence undercuts this budget-busting argument about repeal and leads to the exact opposite conclusion, which is that repeal is the logical first step toward restoring fiscal sanity.
Federal finances are buckling under the weight of unaffordable entitlement programs. So what is the primary aim of the ACA? Open-ended entitlement expansion: to more people at greater expense than anytime since the 1960′s. If CBO is right, 32 million people will be added to the health entitlement rolls, at a cost of $938 billion through 2019, and growing faster than the economy or revenues thereafter.
How, then, does the ACA magically convert $1 trillion in new spending into painless deficit reduction? It’s all about budget gimmicks, deceptive accounting, and implausible assumptions used to create the false impression of fiscal discipline.
For starters, that $1 trillion price is a low-ball estimate, covering only six â not ten â years of subsidies that don’t begin until 2014. The uninsured were clearly less of a priority than the deception of making the law look less expensive than it really is over its first decade. Over ten years of full implementation, it’s more like $2.3 trillion.