WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will shrink rather than increase the nation’s huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama’s contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.
About 3 million fewer uninsured people will gain health coverage because of last month’s Supreme Court ruling granting states more leeway, and that will cut the federal costs by $84 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in the biggest changes from earlier estimates.
Republicans have insisted that “Obamacare” will actually raise deficits — by “trillions,” according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that’s not so, the budget office said.
The office gave no updated estimate for total deficit reductions from the law, approved by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010. But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.
“Repealing the (health care law) will lead to an increase in budget deficits over the coming decade, though a smaller one than previously reported,” budget office director Douglas Elmendorf said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.