As a classic example, in 1997, Congress voted to slow the growth rate of Medicare payments to physicians. But whenever the time has come to implement the cuts, Congress — under intense lobbying from doctors’ groups such as the American Medical Association — has ultimately caved and prevented the cuts from actually going into effect.

If the health care law’s Medicare cuts do not get implemented, instead of reducing the deficit, the law would actually add $6.2 trillion to the nation’s long-term deficits, according to a recent analysis by the Government Accountability Office.

Despite years of insisting that the skeptics were wrong, the Obama administration this week provided a major signal that history is likely to repeat itself. Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced they would delay cuts to the Medicare Advantage program scheduled to go into effect in 2014.