Former GAO chief says ACA is unsustainable

The former U.S. Comptroller General and the head of the Government Accountability Office said that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not fiscally sustainable.

David Walker, who served as both the Comptroller General and GAO head between 1998 and 2008, yesterday told about 1,000 attendees at the Healthcare Financial Management Association's annual institute that the lack of cost controls in the ACA means it will be doomed to failure.

"No matter what the Supreme Court decides, we have to go back and look at healthcare reform," said Walker, a political independent who predicted healthcare legislation in its current form would have to be dismantled and replaced.

Somewhat ironically, Walker's remarks occurred the same day as the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development came out in support of the ACA, telling The Guardian it could potentially reduce long-term U.S. healthcare costs. The group said that the ACA "offers hope that cost growth can be permanently reduced, although there is much uncertainty about how effective it will be," according to the article.

Meanwhile, an article in Health Affairs said the ACA could add more than $500 billion to the U.S. budget deficit over the next decade.

Walker has been a vocal advocate for more fiscal responsibility in government and was particularly critical of taxpayer subsidies for healthcare insurance coverage, noting that 95 percent of Americans would receive some sort of subsidy to purchase coverage, distorting current and future healthcare costs.

To learn more:
- read the Guardian article
- read the Health Affairs article