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Van Hollen
Van Hollen

Dems cite CBO figures on repeal costs; GOP lawmaker zeroes in on subsidies

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: July 24, 2012 - 8:30 pm ET

Provider groups and lawmakers focused on different elements of the Congressional Budget Office's new projections about the 2010 healthcare law to underscore or advance their respective policy positions.

Democrats emphasized one report from the CBO that concluded repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—which the House of Representatives approved in a July 11 vote—would increase federal deficits by $109 billion between 2013 and 2022.

“House Republicans were so eager to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier this month—something they've done more than 30 times—they didn't even bother waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to update its numbers,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said in a statement. “Now, thanks to the analysis released by CBO today, we know that the Republican obsession with repealing health reform would worsen the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years and by roughly $1.5 trillion in the second decade.”

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Similarly, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) issued a statement that said the CBO found the Affordable Care Act will save $109 billion over 10 years, and also said that repealing the bill would eliminate about $40 billion in tax credits to help make insurance more affordable for small businesses. Neither Democrat commented on the CBO's findings in its other report Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision late last month will result in about 6 million fewer enrollees in the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program or that there are “significant disincentives for states to expand Medicaid eligibility.” That is a key issue for the nation's public hospitals.

“The country's safety net hospitals and health systems will continue to provide care, regardless of ability to pay,” Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (PDF), said in a statement. “But the combined impact of more uninsured and significantly reduced support for uncompensated care—reductions premised on a broader expansion of Medicaid than seems likely now—will sorely strain the capacity of these institutions.” Siegel also said states “must do the right thing” and provide Medicaid coverage as broadly as possible.

Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, focused on the CBO's projections that the state insurance exchange subsidies for families making more than $90,000 per year will cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion, which is about $210 billion more than the CBO projected in March.

“Higher healthcare costs, more government spending, higher taxes while slashing seniors' access to Medicare is why the American people continue to oppose this law,” Hatch said in a statement. “It's bad to its core and must be repealed.”

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