ICYMI: Washington Post: Health-care law will add $340 billion to deficit, new study finds

April 10, 2012

The Washington Post today highlighted a new study that reveals the health care law will increase the deficit by $340 billion. The study highlights many of the health care law's broken promises that continue to unravel, finally assigning a price tag to many of the budget gimmicks that have previously been exposed including the double counted $575 billion Medicare "savings."

In a rush to undermine the new study, the White House attempts to argue that the study is using "new math" and "wrongly claiming that some of the savings in the Affordable Care Act are 'double-counted' and that the law actually increases the deficit." But this math is not new at all. The Congressional Budget Office, CMS' chief actuary and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have all substantiated this "double counting." In fact, at an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last year, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted the administration was double counting savings.

The Post explains:

"CBO and Medicare actuaries acknowledge the double-counting issue. 'In practice, the improved [trust fund] financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from' traditional budget rules, Medicare actuary Rick Foster wrote last year.

And in 2010, the CBO wrote that, absent the Medicare savings, the law would increase deficits by $226 billion through 2019 instead of decreasing them by the commonly cited $132 billion.

In arriving at his deficit figure of $340 billion, Blahous updates the numbers through 2021 and subtracts savings that would have come from another provision of the law: the CLASS Act, a long-term-care program that was supposed to have generated as much as $86 billion in new revenue through 2021. The administration acknowledged last year that the CLASS Act is unworkable and suspended efforts to implement it."

Two years after the health care law's passage, House Republicans understand there is a better way forward. By voting to repeal the law in its entirety, defund key provisions and expose the waste and fraud coming out of the law, we can protect taxpayers and implement common-sense solutions for patients.

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