Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Drive Up Federal Deficit, CBO Says
On Wednesday, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said the federal deficit could jump by at least $109 billion over 10 years if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
In a letter to House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Elmendorf said the projected deficit increase would stem from the elimination of the law's taxes, fees and spending cuts (Viebeck, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/15).
The warning came one day before the House is expected to vote on a bill (HR 45) -- sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) -- that would fully eliminate the ACA (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/16). Some estimates peg the vote as the 37th time that congressional Republicans will try to repeal, defund or dismantle the law (California Healthline, 5/15).
Elmendorf said the projected deficit increase is based on CBO's analysis of repealing the ACA in July 2012, when the House last voted on a bill to repeal the law. He noted that while CBO did not have enough time to update the estimates based on the most recent baseline projections, it anticipates "a similar result" ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/15).
Thursday's vote -- like all previous attempts to repeal the ACA since its enactment -- is considered to be purely symbolic, as the bill is expected to be rejected by the Democratic-led Senate, the Washington Post reports (Fahrenthold/O'Keefe, Washington Post, 5/15).
In a Statement of Administration Policy issued Wednesday, the White House also noted that President Obama would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
The statement, from the Office of Management and Budget, said, "The last thing the Congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class," adding, "Right now, the Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy and creating jobs" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/16).
Even though Republicans are aware that the repeal bill will fail, many of them say such votes are necessary to facilitate more targeted efforts to dismantle the ACA, according to the Post (Washington Post, 5/15).
In addition, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that he would schedule a vote on the bill, his spokesperson said the timing of the vote was partly intended to provide the GOP's freshmen a chance to formally weigh in on the issue (California Healthline, 5/15).
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a first-term lawmaker who campaigned on his opposition to the ACA, said, "It's important for the electorate as a whole to understand what the vision of the Republican conference is. Our vision is not Obamacare" (Washington Post, 5/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.