Friday, January 7, 2011

Repeal Of Health Care Could Cost Billions, Republicans About-Face On CBO Projections

From an article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar from The Dallas Morning News:
Repealing President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul would add billions to government red ink and leave millions without coverage, Congress' nonpartisan budget referees said Thursday ahead of a politically charged vote in the House.

House Speaker John Boehner brushed off the Congressional Budget Office analysis as emboldened Republicans, now in the majority, issued their own report arguing that Obama's coverage expansion would cost jobs and increase budget deficits.

But Democrats seized on the CBO analysis, calling it a game changer in the battle for public opinion.

In a letter to Boehner, budget office director Douglas Elmendorf estimated repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion from 2012 to 2021, the 10-year estimating period for budget projections. Moreover, Elmendorf said about 32 million more people would be uninsured in 2019 as a consequence.

But Boehner told reporters: "I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit."

The budget experts are "entitled to their opinion," added Boehner, R-Ohio, saying that the analysts had to rely on information selectively supplied by Democrats who wrote the legislation.

Not so, said the Democrats; adverse rulings by the budget office repeatedly forced them to go back and revise the bill as they were writing it.

The budget director's verdict gave Democrats a new counterattack against Republicans elected on a promise to cut government debt. Until now, the main Democratic argument has been that repealing the law would eliminate benefits people are already receiving.

"We can't afford to increase the deficit by nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars, especially with the very first substantive vote of the 112th Congress," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the authors of the law.
I thought this article was interesting because of Boehner's comment that he does not "believe" repeal will hurt the economy, despite CBO projections.  I find this interesting because of the selectivity Republicans have with CBO estimates - in 2004, Republican Senator Charles Grassley commented on CBO estimates calling them "the true cost estimate as far as Congress is concerned."  Even during the health care debates Republicans used CBO estimates to promote their own proposals and dely the Democrats.
In June 2009, for instance, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), then the minority whip, trumpeted the Republicans' alternative bill after the CBO had delivered its cost estimate. "The news yesterday from the CBO," Cantor said, "is the turning point in the healthcare debate" allowing lawmakers "to put some reason back into the discussion."

A month earlier, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, said of the Democrats' healthcare hopes, "For healthcare budgeting purposes, CBO’s word is the only one that counts."
Boehner even cited a CBO analysis to criticize the legislation stating the finding "provides ample cause for alarm. This comes just weeks after the Obama administration itself released an analysis confirming that the new law actually increases Americans’ health care costs. The American people wanted one thing above all from health care reform: lower costs, which Washington Democrats promised, but they did not deliver. These revelations widen the serious credibility gap President Obama is facing."

It is interesting that what Boehner once called a "revelation" is now an "opinion" that can be easily dismissed, solely because it does not support his agenda.


  1. Every Republican who was serving in the House or Senate in 1993 should be forced to answer why the health insurance mandate they introduced in 1993 was constitutional then and is un-constitutional now? The next question they need to be asked is who picks up the tab for the uninsured?

  2. Kevin- you have to go to They have a post by Dr. Susan Berry who is claiming that the provision to allow 21-26 year olds to be included in their parents policy is part of a plot to keep Americans dependent on the government. Seriously. She wins the loon award of the week.

  3. You make a very interesting point - I wonder how many Republican legislators from 1993 are still in office... and I wonder what they had to say back then...


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