GAO: Yeah, ObamaCare may end up adding $6.2 trillion to long-term deficit

posted at 2:01 pm on February 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Ah, memories.

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. (Applause.)  I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”

But as we’re all painfully aware by now, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” is far from the only grandiose ObamaCare promise that just isn’t destined to live up to the hype. At a hearing this morning, Senate Budget Committee ranking Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed the findings of a Government Accountability Office report he requested, and… surprise: GAO surmises that ObamaCare’s many costly funding mechanisms are not likely to be enough to prevent the program from adding to our debt.

A new government report dramatically proves that the promises made assuring the nation that the largest new entitlement program… would not add a dime to the long- or short-term debt of America, was false. … The results of this brand-new report confirm everything critics and Republicans were saying about the cost of this bill and reveal the dramatic falsehoods that were used to push it to passage. … According to GAO, on a realistic set of assumptions, the health care law will increase the deficit by 0.7 of one percent of GDP, or roughly $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years. $6.2 trillion, unfunded liabilities of the United States. In other words, the GAO reveals that the big tax increases in the bill come nowhere close to covering the even more massive spending.

Andrew Stiles breaks it down at National Review:

The GAO report is essentially the first attempt to isolate and calculate Obamacare’s impact on the deficit beyond the traditional ten-year budget window. …

The baseline scenario is far more optimistic, largely because it does not take into account the concerns — expressed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Trustees, and Medicare’s chief actuary — about “whether certain cost-containment mechanisms included in PPACA can be sustained over the long term.”

The alternative scenario, which incorporates the more realistic “alternative projections” suggested by CBO, the CMS trustees, and the chief Medicare actuary, is even more dire. Under this scenario, the “primary deficit” increases by 0.7 percent of GDP over the 75-year period. The GAO does not put a dollar value on that figure, but Senate Budget Committee staff has calculated, and GAO has confirmed, that it would amount to a $6.2 trillion increase in the federal deficit.

As he points out, however, the GAO notes that even under the much-rosier baseline scenario in which ObamaCare’s many cost-containment experiments go off without a hitch, they “were not sufficient to prevent an unsustainable increase in debt held by the public” — and if there’s anything practical ObamaCare has succeeded in teaching us, it is to never trust the most optimistic scenario.


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