The new Republican-controlled House has laid out its first major target - the federal law aimed at overhauling the health-care system. But an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warns that repealing health care legislation could increase the federal deficit by $230 billion in the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured.
Introduced by House Republicans on January 5, the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," also known as H.R. 2, targets the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as the provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that are related to health care. Deliberations on the bill are expected to start immediately.
The CBO report estimates that the increase in the budget deficit if the legislation were repealed would be equal to what would be saved under current health care legislation - an "increase in deficits projected for fiscal years 2012 through 2019 is likely to be similar in size to ... the reduction in deficits that was originally estimated to result from the enacted legislation."
In addition, the report found that the repeal would add an additional $1.2 trillion to the deficit in the second decade after its enactment, and would force most Americans to pay more for private health insurance.
The findings of the report were dismissed by House Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said the report was based on chicanery by Democrats.
Though the House Republicans ran on a platform of deficit reduction, they have rejected the findings of the report and promised to forge ahead with their attempt to repeal the health care overhaul. In addition, House Republicans have said that because they believe the health care reform will cost the public money, it is an exception to their budget rules.
The CBO estimated last year that the health care reform law would reduce the deficit by $143 billion through 2019, an analysis also rejected by Republican deficit hawks.
In response to the attack on health care, the administration has cried foul, saying that "if the President were presented with H.R. 2, he would veto it."
The bill will come to a vote on January 12, and is expected to pass the House next week. However Senate Democrats, still in control of the upper chamber, say the bill does not stand a chance.
"At every turn, they're adding ifs, ands and buts to their campaign promises," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York). "So we're here today to say these reckless fiscal policies are dead on arrival here in the Senate."