Deficit Forecast -Questioned By Some – Buttressed Support For Health Overhaul
The Congressional Budget Office report that found the health legislation would cut the deficit by $140 billion over 10 years boosted Democratic momentum and pulled fiscally conservative moderates behind the bill, the Financial Times reports. The legislation would cost $940 billion over that period, but various new taxes, spending cuts and savings would more than cover the cost. In the second decade, the CBO estimates, it would reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion.
Those estimates "gave comfort to fiscally conservative Democrats who were wavering on the proposal, and put Republicans on the defensive over their argument that the US could not afford healthcare reform." The House Democratic majority leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the bill "the biggest deficit reduction bill any of us will have an opportunity to vote on in this congress and indeed other congresses as well" (Politi, 3/23).
Bloomberg/BusinessWeek: Not all deficit-reducing legislation is helpful for incumbents' electoral prospects. "[Margorie] Margolies cast what turned out to be the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton's deficit-reduction legislation in August 1993, when the House Republican minority unanimously voted no. The Pennsylvania Democrat was defeated for re-election a year later as Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House." And now, "Republicans see the health-care vote as the key vehicle to enable them take back the majority they lost in the 2006 midterm election" (Salant, 3/23).
The (Toronto) Globe and Mail: Some economists and other experts doubt whether the health bill's deficit reductions which depend on large Medicare savings and new tax revenues that primarily affect the wealthy are really "achievable." Some conservative economists say the wealthy will find ways to avoid such taxes, and that Congress may be unwilling to impose necessary restrictions on the Medicare program to achieve the savings. Lawmakers have been reluctant to do so in the past (McKenna, 3/23).