Debunking The Republican Claim That Health Care Reform Adds "$701 Billion" To The Debt

January 19, 2011 12:25 pm ET

At the outset of the floor debate on the GOP's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) laid out the Republican case that Democrats bamboozled the CBO with "smoke and mirrors," and the reform package actually "has a $701 billion deficit." Ryan claimed the CBO score relies on 'double-counting' of savings to Medicare and some tax revenue, but that is provably false — and Ryan himself admitted last year that the CBO doesn't double-count. Ryan also revived the claim that "$115 billion in new appropriations" for the bill "wasn't counted." But that $115 billion is not "new" spending, it's not mandatory under the bill, and $86 billion of it was counted by the CBO. Finally, Ryan argued that "the doctor fix" adds another $208 billion to the debt, but the "doc fix" is only necessary because the GOP screwed up the formulas for Medicare reimbursement back in 1997. The "doc fix" is a separate legislative issue — and a separate budget item — from the Affordable Care Act.

Return to the full post.