Sam Stein notes that a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has found that the Affordable Care Act — the very same law that supposed deficit hawks want to repeal — will lead to a “notable improvement in the long-term outlook under the Baseline Extended simulation” once fully implemented:
Both of these simulations incorporate effects of health care legislation enacted in March 2010, which includes a number of provisions to control the growth of federal health care spending. There is a notable improvement in the long-term outlook under the Baseline Extended simulation [that follows the CBO August 2010 baseline estimates for the first 10 years and then simply holds revenue and spending constant as a share of GDP] which assumes full implementation and effectiveness of cost control provisions, although some—including the Trustees, CBO and the CMS Actuary—have raised questions about the sustainability of certain of these cost controls.
These reports point to the biggest problem for repeal advocates: how to make up for the budget hole repeal will leave behind. So far, the GOP has handled the problem by simply dismissing the cost estimates. “Well, the assumptions are all wrong,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told CNN’s John King when pressed on the matter. “Nobody seriously believes the health care bill is actually going to save money. Nobody believes that,” McConnell insisted.
But the GAO, the CBO, and the CMS do and McConnell and the GOP will have to live by their rules if they hope to accomplish anything serious. Their dismissiveness, of course, suggests that they don’t and won’t.
Significantly, the report also notes that while reform helps control spending, it doesn’t do enough. “[E]ven under the more optimistic Baseline Extended scenario, which assumes the full implementation and effectiveness of cost control provisions, debt grows continuously over the long term indicating that more needs to be done,” it notes.