The GOP’s “Pledge to America” contains a provision dear to the hearts of House Minority Leader John Boehner and Republicans everywhere: Repeal that noxious health care law! It’s socialized medicine! It’s going to bankrupt the country! It was crammed down the throats of the people! It is a re-distributionist plan to take away from hardworking real Americans to give to the lazy do-nothing free-loaders, many of whom are illegal aliens!
Did I cover everything? Oh, I forgot one objection: It’s a Nazi plot!
OK. Now I’ve covered everything. So Boehner can explain all that to the parents of young adults who are now able to put carry their 24-year-olds on their policies. He can explain that to the diabetics and depressed workers who haven’t been able to get coverage because of pre-existing conditions. He can explain that to the parents of chronically ill young children whose health coverage will now run out because Boehner’s repeal will bring back lifetime caps.
Oh, and one more thing: Boehner can explain to all the Americans who are worried about the deficit where he will find the $4 trillion that the Affordable Health Care Act is expected to shave off the deficit over the next 20 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
I’ve got some good news for deficit hawks: This year, Congress passed legislation reducing the deficit by about $125 billion over the next 10 years. But, as they say on the infomercials, that’s not all! The bill cuts the deficit by $1.3 trillion in the second decade. That more than pays for every dollar we’ve spent on stimulus since 2008. It also sets up a new — and credible — system to keep Medicare’s costs under control. So, hear that, fiscal conservatives? Hear that, bond markets? This is progress, baby. We’ll lick our deficit problem yet.
The bill in question, of course, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as health-care reform. The numbers come from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. But as always, there’s a catch: The savings arrive only if the policies behind the savings are allowed to do their jobs. And in the GOP’s zeal to repeal a bill it considers a deficit-increasing nightmare, Republicans are focusing their fire on the parts they should like: The cost controls.