CBO: ‘Obamacare’ cuts deficit

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You may have seen a few election-year TV ads that claim President Obama’s landmark health care reform, aka “Obamacare,” will add “trillions” to the federal deficit.

Turns out they’re off by, well, trillions.

The latest estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office indicate the Affordable Care Act will actually cut rather than increase the national debt over the next decade.

In its first budget projections since the Supreme Court upheld most of the health care reform law last month, the CBO adjusted its cost estimate down slightly to reflect the one provision of the ACA that the court struck down: the requirement that states expand Medicare to provide health insurance to lower-income residents.

Since states now have the option to accept or reject the government’s offer to pay 100 percent of the initial cost to expand Medicaid, the CBO estimates that 3 million fewer Americans than previously expected will gain health insurance coverage under health care reform.

As a result, taxpayers will save about $84 billion between 2012 and 2022, when an additional 30 million Americans will have been added to the health insurance pool.

While the CBO offered no exact estimate on how much health care reform will shrink the federal deficit, it said that the law’s spending cuts and tax increases would more than compensate for the federal outlay to cover the uninsured.

As for those efforts in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act? The CBO estimates they would boost the federal deficit by $109 billion between 2013 and 2022.

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