Advocates of repeal foresee ominous future

Opponents of the healthcare reform predict a grim future for America if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office (2003-05), said we could be "on a trajectory to become a Third World nation," given how big our deficit could grow. We would be relegated to the status of a low quality borrower, he said today in a press briefing.

In a commentary for the Wall Street Journal, he and others ask how the ACA magically converts $1 trillion in new spending into painless deficit reduction. They say deceptive accounting and implausible assumptions create the impression of fiscal discipline.

James Capretta, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and former associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, worried entitlements would grow as offsets withered away.

In the WSJ opinion piece, they say that ACA's supporters are double-counting fictional savings, claiming cuts to Medicare can pay for both ACA entitlements and Medicare solvency.

The Affordable Care Act, they say, was fundamentally deceptive about the economics of paying for the entitlements, such as covering another 32 million people. "Cuts to Medicare won't be feasible," said Holtz-Eakins, who imagined a time could come when Medicare rates drop below Medicaid's. Medicare rates could fall below 50 percent, he said. Right now, Medicare pays about 80 percent of what private insurers pay and Medicaid pays about 75 percent.

To learn more:
- here's the commentary in the Wall Street Journal
- here's Holtz-Eakin's opinion piece in the National Review

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