Prescribed by President Obama and a heavy-handed Democratic Party majority as political reform designed to cut deficit spending and brighten the federal government’s unsustainable fiscal outlook, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would actually add as much as $530 billion to federal deficits while increasing spending by more than $1.15 trillion by 2021, according to a newly released Mercatus Center study.
The law includes a federal mandate requiring almost all Americans to purchase health insurance, federally subsidized health insurance exchanges, greatly expanded eligibility for Medicaid, reduced increases in Medicare payments, and an array of new taxes.
“The essence of (proponents') view was that the federal government’s long-term fiscal shortfall was almost entirely due to excess health care cost inflation and that comprehensive health care reform was therefore the most urgent requirement for fixing the fiscal problem,” said Charles Blahous
, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.
During an April 2011 speech, Obama claimed his reforms in the health care law would “reduce our deficit by $1 trillion.”
In 2009, Peter Orszag, an avid ACA supporter, was named to head the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which claimed the 2,700-page bill would shrink the national deficit, increase insurance coverage to millions of low-income Americans and fix Medicare.
The federal deficit has already increased over $5.5 trillion during President Obama’s term and the major costs of ACA do not kick in until 2014.
“Make no mistake: health care reform is entitlement reform,” said Obama in April 2009. Before the bill gained bitterly partisan approval in a sharply divided congress, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “we must pass it so that you can see what is in it.”
“The federal government promised the health care law would finance two different activities-increasing Medicare solvency and extending health care coverage, but with only enough savings to pay for one. Thus, the ACA’s total new spending well exceeds its cost-savings provisions,” says Blahous in the Mercatus Center study.
Mercatus Study Conclusion: “To ensure the ACA does not worsen the federal fiscal outlook, fully two-thirds of its new health exchange subsidies would need to be repealed before benefits begin in 2014. Moreover, to ensure the ACA does not further increase federal health care financing commitments, the entirety of the new health subsidies and most of the ACA’s Medicaid/CHIP expansion must be eliminated. Alternatively, other cost reductions must be enacted to offset the new commitments made under the ACA.”