Healthcare repeal would tack $230B onto national debt

Repealing the healthcare reform would add $230 billion to the deficit between 2012 and 2021, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Since the CBO estimate was released yesterday, both sides have been busy spinning the news.

The report, released yesterday in the form of a 10-page letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), made it possible for Democrats to claim that repealing healthcare would deepen the deficit. Boehner dismissed the report, although it was based on the repeal bill introduced Wednesday. "I do not believe that repealing the job-killing healthcare law will increase the deficit," he said, the New York Times reports.

For their part, Republicans said the CBO's estimate of the cost of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (yes, that's its real name, believe it or not), was flawed because the reform legislation was misleading. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, described the law as "packed with smoke and mirrors to hide the impact of trillions of dollars in new spending," the Fiscal Times reports.

The CBO letter pegged the increase in federal spending on healthcare between 2010 and 2019 at about $400 billion, which would be paid for in the legislation by increased efficiencies in Medicare, lower payments to insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage programs and other revenue boosting measures.

"When you don't like the call on the field, it's not part of the rules of the game that you throw the referee off the field and substitute your judgment," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Budget Committee, told reporters in the Capitol. "It's a very dangerous precedent to politicize the [CBO]. We can argue about the policy impacts, but we shouldn't be arguing about the facts."

According to the CBO, the GOP's attempts to cut the deficit and repeal the health reform are contradictory, the New York Times reports.

To learn more:
- read the Congressional Budget Office's letter
- here is the Washington Post article
- read the Fiscal Times article
- read The Hill's blog post
- read this New York Times article

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