Just as Iowa was joining 26 other states in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the Committee on Budget, took to the floor of the House of Representatives to explain how the $230 billion in savings claimed by Obamacare supporters can only be achieved using “smoke and mirrors.”
Mr. Ryan explained that when “scoring” a piece of legislation, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is required to base their calculations on the assumptions provided to them by the authors of the legislation. He then went on to detail the many erroneous and suspiciously deceptive assumptions that were provided to the CBO by the previous Democrat House majority to be used for scoring the bill:
- $70 billion in CLASS Act premiums were double-counted as revenue
- $53 billion in Social Security taxes were double-counted as revenue
- $115 billion additional spending required to hire the incremental staffing necessary to administer the legislation was omitted
- $398 billion in Medicare cuts were double-counted as savings
- $208 billion for the “Doctor Fix” was not considered
When the scoring is done properly, explains Mr. Ryan, the legislation actually yields a $701 billion deficit, not a $230 billion savings. This translates into an initial ten-year increase in spending of $1.4 trillion, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story. The calculations for the initial ten years of the bill are based on the immediate increase of taxes, but only six years of spending that isn’t fully implemented until 2014. When one moves the ten-year calculation out four years (from 2014 through the end of 2023) to account for ten years of revenue and ten full years of spending required by the legislation, the increase in spending is actually $2.6 trillion – quite a staggering number.
Interestingly, when the CBO is commenting on a piece of legislation’s effect on the national debt (as opposed to its budgetary effect), it is not bound by the Congress-provided assumptions and is allowed to consider their validity as well as assess the legislation in a broader context. While he did not refer to a specific amount, Mr. Ryan did highlight that the CBO has stated that the healthcare legislation will add significantly to the national debt, which is completely inconsistent with the deficit reduction the legislation is alleged to produce.
The message in support of repeal by Mr. Ryan was a strong and compelling one, and the video can be viewed here on his website.