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No Big Changes in Latest Estimates of Health Reform Law

March 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have substantially revised their estimates of the law and now predict it will cost more, and reduce the deficit less, than originally expected.

These claims are false.  As CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf explains on his blog, the CBO and JCT estimates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) released last week are essentially unchanged from earlier estimates:

  • “Some of the commentary on those reports has suggested that CBO and JCT have changed their estimates of the effects of the ACA to a significant degree. That’s not our perspective.”
  • “For the provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to health insurance coverage, CBO and JCT’s latest estimates are quite similar to the estimates we released when the legislation was being considered in March 2010. . . .  Although the latest projections extend the original ones by three years (corresponding to the shift in the regular 10-year projection period since the ACA was first being developed), the projections for each given year have changed little, on net, since March 2010.”
  • “The estimated budgetary impact of the coverage provisions has also changed little. . . .  Again, the latest projections extend the original ones by three years, but the projections for each given year have changed little, on net, since March 2010.”
  • “CBO and JCT have not updated their estimate of the full budgetary impact of the legislation this year. . . .  Our projections made last February (our most recent ones for all the provisions of the law) extended the original ones by two years, but again changed little, on net, from the original projections for each given year.”

The basic facts about health reform remain the same as when President Obama and Congress enacted the law two years ago:  it will expand health coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, reduce deficits, and take critical steps toward reining in health care costs.


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