CBO’s Health Law Estimate Indicates 10-Year Net Deficit Decrease Of $210 Billion
Previously, the Congressional Budget Office had estimated a 10-year deficit reduction figure of $124 billion. The update reflects a change in the time period on which the projection is based. Also while testifying before a House subcommittee, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said the budget office was aware of the so-called "hidden" $105 billion in the health bill. However, at the same hearing, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief actuary Richard Foster offered a more skeptical view of the whether the measure will ultimately reduce the deficit.
Modern Healthcare: Reform Law Still Expected To Curb Deficit: CBO
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to produce a net decrease in the federal deficit of $210 billion from 2012 through 2021, the director of the Congressional Budget Office reiterated Wednesday at a congressional hearing. Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said the most recent estimate from his office and the Joint Committee on Taxation in February differs from a March 2010 estimate that projected a net reduction of $124 billion from 2010 through 2019 not because of a change in the estimation, but because of the difference in time periods that the two estimates cover. At the hearing - which focused on the law's effects on jobs - Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) asked witnesses if a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices included in the law would be passed onto consumers through higher premiums. "Yes, we think that would be the typical reaction to raise the prices," said Richard Foster, chief actuary at the CMS (Zigmond, 3/30).
The Hill: CBO Chief: Reform's Mandatory Spending Wasn't Hidden
The head of the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper rejected GOP claims that more than $100 billion in health care reform's long-term mandatory spending was "hidden" from the public until recently. House Republicans have targeted the law's long-term appropriations, which they say weren't uncovered until just last month. However, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) chief Doug Elmendorf told lawmakers that the CBO had been aware of the estimated $105 billion tab (Millman, 3/30).
The Fiscal Times: Bachmann Errs on $105 Billion Hidden in Health Bill
Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf testified on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act does not include $105 billion in "hidden" mandatory funding, rejecting such claims by GOP opponents of the bill, including Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. "Secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation," Bachmann said recently on "Meet the Press." But Elmendorf ... [said] he was aware of funding for a new prevention and public health fund - a state-based effort aimed at preventing chronic disease and for school health centers, the funding that Bachmann and other GOP members said was "hidden" (DePaul, 3/30).
CQ Healthbeat: CMS Actuary: Medicare Cuts In Health Care Law Unrealistic
The cuts in Medicare spending growth that pay for the health care overhaul "may not be viable indefinitely," Rick Foster, the chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, told House lawmakers on Wednesday. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health scheduled Wednesday's hearing as a way to contrast Foster's skepticism about whether the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) will ultimately reduce the federal deficit, after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in February that repealing the law would add $210 billion to the deficit from 2012-2021. The cuts in the law are so deep that medical providers "eventually would become unable or unwilling to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries," Foster testified (Adams, 3/30).