Many projections on the fiscal impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were based upon inaccurate estimates. These estimates helped Congress come to a conclusion that the law would not add to the deficit. It was discovered that some of these projections were manipulated by having costs loaded out 11 years.
Now, Rep. John Campbell has questioned other projections used in the tabulation of the law’s costs. For example, the Congressional Budget Office projected that unemployment would be 4.9% in 2014, the year when many of the free insurance provisions of PPACA would take effect. A higher unemployment rate would lead to a marked increase in the already underestimated costs. In a meeting of the House Budget Committee, CBO chairman Douglas Elmendorf admitted that the rate would be 8.7%, almost double what was projected at the time of the law’s passage. “That piece alone would raise the costs of the Affordable Care Act; we don’t know how much. We were not able for this outlook to update those estimates, that is a particularly involved process,” said Elmendorf. He also said that detailed projections would be out in March. These projections may also need to reflect the repeal of the CLASS act, a portion of PPACA designed to offer affordable long term care coverage, which has passed the House.
“One of the major revenue components of ObamaCare, the CLASS Act, has been shown to be completely unworkable and even the Administration now agrees that it has to be scrapped,” said Campbell, “As more and more is revealed about this law, the fallacy of it will become more and more apparent.”
In the meeting, Campbell also asked Elmendorf whether or not repealing the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 per year would make a significant dent in the deficit. “I think of the effects of the top tax rates as being about a fifth, based upon the latest estimates I have seen from the Joint Committee on Taxation, of the set of things often described as the Bush tax cuts,” said Elmendorf, “the piece which is just raising just the top tax rates only makes a small difference in moving the fiscal scenario back to the law baseline.” In response Campbell further asserted that the deficit problem could not be solved with just tax increases on the wealthy, unless the increases were very large or also affected other groups.
To contact Rep. Campbell, call 949.756.2244 or visit http://campbell.house.gov
Reporter Greyson Peltier may be reached at 206.424.5190 or by emailing Greyson.Peltier@TPPJournalism.org