The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday that repealing health care reform would add $230 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade, intensifying debate over House Republicans' bid to scrap the law. Democrats seized on the figures to argue that the GOP cares more about partisan politics than fiscal discipline. The new House speaker, John Boehner (R-Ohio), questioned the accounting and countered that replacing "the Washington Democrats' job-killing health care law" with "common-sense reforms" is ultimately the best way to reduce costs, and the deficit. Who's right? (Watch Rep. Steve King debate heath care reform)
This exposes Republican hypocrisy: If the GOP succeeds in repealing the Affordable Care Act, says Joan McCarter in Daily Kos, we'll pay "more for less." With the law, 94 percent of the population will have health coverage; without it, that figure drops to 83 percent, and we get stuck with a big bill in the bargain. Instead of facing facts, Republicans are exempting the repeal bill from their own budget rules that require any increase in spending to be offset by other cuts. It all proves "they care more about making petty political points than reducing the deficit."
"CBO: Health reform repeal would add $230 billion to deficit by 2021"
Actually, repeal would save us a fortune: Repealing "Obamacare" is definitely "the fiscally responsible thing to do," says Joseph Lawler in The American Spectator. The law "increases government health care spending by (very roughly) $900 billion" — it just offsets the cost with tax hikes and cuts elsewhere. The government should be using those offsets to cut the deficit — "not to finance more entitlement spending."
"Repeal and fiscal responsibility"
These numbers aren't as firm as they sound: Republicans still have "wiggle room," says Dave Weigel on Slate because these programs always, always, always cost more than anticipated." But this certainly has given Democrats an opening to "scorch Republicans" by accusing them of trying to "blow up the deficit." As usual, the reality is "a bit more complicated" than either side seems willing to admit.
"CBO: Health care repeal would cost $230 billion, we think"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
Subscribe to the Week