CBO Warns Republicans That Repealing Health Law Would Increase Deficit By $455 Billion


The Congressional Budget Office is out with a new letter saying that while the health care law could reduce the projected budget deficit by $30 billion in 2020, repealing it would increase the deficit by an estimated $455 billion:

On balance, the two laws’ health care and revenue provisions are estimated to reduce the projected deficit in 2020 by $28 billion, and the education provisions of the Reconciliation Act are estimated to reduce the projected deficit in 2020 by $2 billion. […]

Finally, you asked what the net deficit impact would be if certain provisions of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act that were estimated to generate net savings were eliminated—specifically, those which were originally estimated to generate a net reduction in mandatory outlays of $455 billion over the 2010–2019 period. The estimate of $455 billion mentioned in your letter represents the net effects of many provisions. Some of those provisions generated savings for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and some generated costs. If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period.

If they were to repeal the law, Republicans would have replace it with something that makes up for the deficit increases (assuming, of course that they will still care about the deficits) and helps slow the growth rate in the Medicare program. The GOP’s old leadership backed plan and its reliance on medical malpractice reform as a money saver won’t be enough.

Separately, the CBO also estimated that preventing payment reductions to the physician fee schedule would cost some $330 billion over the 2011–2020 period.


To clarify, the $445 billion figure refers to the deficit increase if only the Medicare portions were repealed. Repealing the entire law would increase the deficit by some $140 billion. Republicans however, are strong opponents of the Medicare cuts and sponsored a series of amendments that would have repealed them.

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,The first sentence of this post, which relied on a Modern Health article, incorrectly said that the law would reduce the deficit by $30 billion over 10 years. It will reduce it by this amount in 2020. The CBO estimates that the law will produce “$143 billion in net budgetary savings over the 2010-2019 period.”

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