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CBO: Repealing Medicare Portions of Health Law Would Increase Deficit by $455 Billion

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This post originally appeared on Daily Kos.

Of course, since Republicans don't actually care about the deficit, they just like to use it as a bogeyman, this letter from the CBO [pdf] (via the Wonk Room won't make them stop screaming "REPEAL!!!"

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 If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period.

The "you" the CBO is responding to is Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), who must have thought that if he asked just one more time, the CBO would give him a pony in the form of the health law not reducing the deficit. It's really rather remarkable--the CBO originally said, make these changes and save $455 billion--did Crapo really think that repealing those provisions wouldn't then cost $455 billion? Sometimes the CBO must get very frustrated by the letters they get from Congress.

Igor Volsky adds:

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.

They don't care about the deficit. They don't care about trying to control the costs of the absolutely essential Medicare and Medicaid and CHIP, to keep them healthy and effective. And they sure as hell don't have a plan for making the nation's health care system work.

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