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Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Boehner: Budget office "entitled to their opinion" on health care repeal's deficit impact

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 3:40 p.m.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday defended House Republicans' efforts to repeal the national health care law, disputing the accuracy of a preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimate that a repeal of the law would add $230 billion to the national debt through 2021.

"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit," Boehner said at a Capitol press conference the day after the GOP formally regained the House majority. "CBO is entitled to their opinion, but they're locked within constraints of the 1974 Budget Act. Listen, even the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have made clear that this bill will not save the kind of money that was predicted earlier."

The CBO estimate, released Thursday morning, stated that the $230 billion figure was still a tentative one, comprised of $130 billion in net deficit reduction brought about by the law, $15 billion in reductions brought about by the Medicare and Medicare Extenders Act of 2010 and an additional $80 billion to $90 billion due to the different time horizons for the repeal legislation and the health care overhaul itself.

The House Budget Committee on Thursday released its own estimate projecting that the health care overhaul will end up adding $701 billion to the deficit over 10 years and wind up costing taxpayers a total of $2.6 trillion.

In disputing the CBO report, Boehner argued that the budget office "can only provide a score based on the assumptions that are given to them, and if you go back and look at the health-care bill and the assumptions that were given to them, you see all of the double-counting that went on."

Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel also said that legislation Democrats provided to the CBO forced the budget office to "ignore the $115 billion needed to implement the law" and "double-count $521 billion in Social Security payroll taxes, CLASS Act premiums and Medicare cuts."

Although the 112th Congress is only two days old, repeal of the health care overhaul has become a major flashpoint for both parties. House Republicans are quickly pushing to repeal the law, with a vote slated for next week; any repeal would stand little chance of passing the Senate, where Democrats retain the majority.

House Democrats have criticized Republicans' efforts as political theater and argue that the CBO estimate proves Republicans are on track to break their pledge to reduce the federal deficit and promote fiscal responsibility in the new Congress.

"The Congressional Budget office confirms that just one day after taking over the House, the Republican rhetoric on fiscal discipline doesn't meet the reality test as their plans to take away valued health benefits from the American people will balloon our deficit by $230 billion over 10 years," House Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said in a statement Thursday.

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 6, 2011; 12:59 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Boehner and the Republicans are killing me. The CBO (non partisan CBO at that) created a report that contains calculations, actual numbers, that indicates repealing health care will cost the nation $200+ billion dollars. Because it doesn't square with the heated rhetoric the Republicans have been blasting ever since health care reform took place they dismiss. And what non partisan study has the Republicans provided us with to back their statement that health care reform will cost the nation billions? None. None at all. This is so frustrating.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | January 7, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Now, this is a waste of money. There is no way this will get through the Senate (and then the President will sign it?). Idiots. I thought you were supposed to cut out spending and waste?? You are wasting taxpayer's money with this nonsense.

Posted by: ssanford001 | January 7, 2011 5:24 AM | Report abuse

"This is not a direct democracy, it is a representative democracy, meaning that federal legislation does not get passed by referendum, but instead gets passed or rejected based on the votes cast by the congresspersons we vote for.
Posted by: johnqpublic1"

Okay, but would you agree that the Senate majority leader shouldn't purposely hold Senators in town just to force them to vote on a very unpopular bill before they can have time to meet with constituents over a traditional break? If Sen. Reid had allowed Senators to returned home over Christmas and New Years before a vote he would not have returned with the votes to pass the bill.

Posted by: cprferry | January 6, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"As a journalist, please ask the new speaker to validate his calling the new health care bill 'job killing'. Where is his data and analysis that it will or has killed jobs?
Posted by: mg11231"

What about the 200 companies that have requested and received waivers for health programs that they otherwise would have cut and jobs they would have cut had not the Obama administration waived their inclusion into the bill?

Posted by: cprferry | January 6, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I find this whole episode comical. It was just only seven years ago when the Republican-led Congress passed the 2003 Medicare Prescription Act based on falsified estimates from the Bush-era HHS. If they were so willing to believe those numbers, then as I see it, they should just shut up and move onto something else, like actually governing. Of course this may prove a formidable challenge for them so I will not be holding my breath anytime soon.

Posted by: StrikeZone | January 6, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

The CBO itself has issued a separate score without the manipulations of the Democrats that point to the PPACA increasing the deficit. However, Rep. Boehner, is it, the CBO is trapped by the deceit of the Democrats' gaming of the score. Any analysis that would combine the PPACA with the related health care bills the Democrats passed would clearly show an increase in the deficit.

Posted by: cprferry | January 6, 2011 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Boehner's a lying criminal. The CBO don't lie, and even Republicans admit it's impartial. It tells it like it is.

Add the $230 billion to that rich people tax cut, and you have Boehner and the Tea Confederates ripping off taxpayers of over a TRILLION DOLLARS while subjecting over 95% of Americans to the predatory, criminal practices of the unregulated private insurance industry - the REAL death panels, the ones that say they can't save Grandma 'cause her condition isn't covered.And no one regulates what *they* (the private insurance industry) decide, be it death or life. No rules.

What a stupid country. You deserve to decline.

BTW, dumbarse Repubs: you can't overturn anything. You have the House, and that's it.

Posted by: 2229 | January 6, 2011 11:40 PM | Report abuse

As a journalist, please ask the new speaker to validate his calling the new health care bill 'job killing'. Where is his data and analysis that it will or has killed jobs? Also, please ask him to validate what he thinks will be the effect of his repaealing the new health care bill. Ask him for his data and analysis. If you, as a reporter aren't willing to make politicians back up what they say with reviewable data, get out of the business.

Posted by: mg11231 | January 6, 2011 1:41 PM
---------------------------------------

Well said! However, if someone challenged the orange one, he'd burst into tears! And then the GOP would say, "look you made this great patriot cry, you bunch of commie socialists."

Posted by: jaysit | January 6, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

One thing is certain, it is important to familiarize yourself with more information on the issue than just reacting to what is stated in this article. There is more information out there regarding the accounting practices that the CBO employs. The fact that they originally scored the bill just under a trillion in cost and then adjusted their numbers up a month later leads me to believe that even they are not dealing with accurate facts and data on the bill. Either way, using history as an example, I have a hard time believing that the government could run something more efficiently than private industry. It is that premise that I believe will lead this bill to be a huge mistake for America. We already had one of the best systems in the world, we needed reform to control the costs, America as a whole did not ask for this, they wanted reform, not a complete overhaul. Besides, this new program does nothing to address the spiraling costs which was the impetus for the reform, It only redistributes those spiraling costs across all the American people. Those costs will still continue to go up as will your taxes to pay for this.

Posted by: JWPinCHI | January 6, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

=============================================

I don't think the fact that the numbers changed is an indication that the numbers were made up. It could just as easily mean that additional information became available.

We have the most expensive medical care in the world, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the 'best'. It would depend on how you measure the 'best'.

With medical care, I think the problem is that insurance companies charge fees for their coverage and have to pay medical costs relating to their covered patients.

They also have to make a profit and that profit comes from denying care in many cases.

My understanding is that the costs are addressed by allowing individuals to become part of a larger group where insurance companies would compete for their business.

When medical costs are tracking at a higher rate that incomes, the costs will eventually cause the budget to fall over. What was happening before, was not sustainable.

Something needed to be done, and since the repubs were in their 'delay and obstruct' mode, what was passed was not a collection of the best ideas from both sides, but what could be passed.

This is not an ideal way to govern and at some point, I hope our elected officials will recognize that they were elected to accomplish something useful and not represent an ideological position.

Posted by: RichRable | January 6, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

As a journalist, please ask the new speaker to validate his calling the new health care bill 'job killing'. Where is his data and analysis that it will or has killed jobs? Also, please ask him to validate what he thinks will be the effect of his repaealing the new health care bill. Ask him for his data and analysis. If you, as a reporter aren't willing to make politicians back up what they say with reviewable data, get out of the business.

Posted by: mg11231 | January 6, 2011 1:41 PM
---------------------------------------

Well said! However, if someone challenged the orange one, he'd burst into tears! And then the GOP would say, "look you made this great patriot cry, you bunch of commie socialists."

Posted by: jaysit | January 6, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Kinda like the 50 or so anti-Iraq war resolutions that House Democrats passed in 2007-08 that they knew wouldn't get through the Senate or get George W. Bush's signature. Wond er what wasted more time?

Posted by: lure1 | January 6, 2011 3:07 PM
===========================================
one of the GOP's main topics this past election cycle was cutting costs. how are they cutting costs by wasting more money voting for something that isn't going to change?

i'm a fan of neither party and will call either one out on their respective crap (which is a full time job in itself.) they need to get down to the people's business as they "promised" and stop wasting more time and money.

Posted by: m114b | January 6, 2011 3:27 PM
========================================
Fair enough. My point was merely that both parties do it. But implicit in your comment was that Dems did not make the pledge to cut costs.

Posted by: lure1 | January 6, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Kinda like the 50 or so anti-Iraq war resolutions that House Democrats passed in 2007-08 that they knew wouldn't get through the Senate or get George W. Bush's signature. Wond er what wasted more time?

Posted by: lure1 | January 6, 2011 3:07 PM
===========================================
one of the GOP's main topics this past election cycle was cutting costs. how are they cutting costs by wasting more money voting for something that isn't going to change?

i'm a fan of neither party and will call either one out on their respective crap (which is a full time job in itself.) they need to get down to the people's business as they "promised" and stop wasting more time and money.

Posted by: m114b | January 6, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

One thing is certain, it is important to familiarize yourself with more information on the issue than just reacting to what is stated in this article. There is more information out there regarding the accounting practices that the CBO employs. The fact that they originally scored the bill just under a trillion in cost and then adjusted their numbers up a month later leads me to believe that even they are not dealing with accurate facts and data on the bill. Either way, using history as an example, I have a hard time believing that the government could run something more efficiently than private industry. It is that premise that I believe will lead this bill to be a huge mistake for America. We already had one of the best systems in the world, we needed reform to control the costs, America as a whole did not ask for this, they wanted reform, not a complete overhaul. Besides, this new program does nothing to address the spiraling costs which was the impetus for the reform, It only redistributes those spiraling costs across all the American people. Those costs will still continue to go up as will your taxes to pay for this.

Posted by: JWPinCHI | January 6, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

So, we're supposed to believe Mr. Fuzzy Numbers Boehner that doesn't have any kind of accounting degree.

Republicans = Lie and Deny.

If Republicans knew anything at all about accounting, then why aren't they using their skills to conjure up a way to pay for that LIE CALLED THE WAR IN IRAQ?

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 6, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Desertdiva1 wrote: Thank you Speaker Boehner. Even if the CBO is correct Democrats should have asked American voters first before passing this odoriferous monstrosity of a bill. The cost can be charged against the Democrats. First for the costs to initiate and then the costs to repeal.

=============================

We were asked. We all wanted it, except for those of you who just sat there hating that a black man is now in the white house. You make up your "facts" based on what fox "news" tells you you want to hear. Lying doesn't change the truth, but that means nothing to you. All you want is to get that n*gg*r out of the white house.

Posted by: fmamstyle | January 6, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Lord, grant me strength!!! Mr. Speaker of the House - you and all the representatives that grace the floor, were "elected" to "serve the people", not to voice your sole opinion on any given subject. As Americans, we should all be concerned about your self-serving data, mis-information and interpretation of facts.

Posted by: Indygirl2 | January 6, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

i love how the GOP swear up and down that they want to cut costs, so one of their first acts is to waste time and taxpayer money voting to repeal a bill that has no hope of passing with a veto-proof majority.

(sung to the tune of naughty by nature's "OPP")

voter: you down with hypocrisy?
GOP: yeah you know me!

Posted by: m114b | January 6, 2011 2:53 PM
================================
Kinda like the 50 or so anti-Iraq war resolutions that House Democrats passed in 2007-08 that they knew wouldn't get through the Senate or get George W. Bush's signature. Wond er what wasted more time?

Posted by: lure1 | January 6, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Lord, grant me strength!!! Mr. Speaker of the House - you and all the representatives that grace the floor, were "elected" to "serve the people", not to voice your sole opinion on any given subject. As Americans, we should all be concerned about your self-serving data, mis-information and interpretation of facts.

Posted by: Indygirl2 | January 6, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Desertdiva1:
"Thank you Speaker Boehner. Even if the CBO is correct Democrats should have asked American voters first before passing this odoriferous monstrosity of a bill."

Really? Then why did the GOP ignore the polls that showed the majority of Americans were actually in favor of a public option?

"The cost can be charged against the Democrats."

You misspelled "Republicans".

Posted by: presto668 | January 6, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

lol Making up stuff already. This is going to be a fun next two years.

Posted by: nsu1203 | January 6, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"the job-killing health care law"

What a pathetic move to govern by sound-bites rather than intelligent discussion. I am glad to see the Republican theater in the House as it only increases the chances they will remain out of the White House and a minority in the senate after the 2012 election.

Posted by: sage5 | January 6, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

i love how the GOP swear up and down that they want to cut costs, so one of their first acts is to waste time and taxpayer money voting to repeal a bill that has no hope of passing with a veto-proof majority.

(sung to the tune of naughty by nature's "OPP")

voter: you down with hypocrisy?
GOP: yeah you know me!

Posted by: m114b | January 6, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The logic of one of Obamacare's most ardent supporters:

"The reckless Republican repeal of health care is a budget busting bailout for insurance companies that will kill jobs, raise Americans' taxes, and deny critical care to women and children. It is unconscionable that Republicans plan on ramming the bill through the House without exploring the disastrous impact repeal will have on Americans," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the outgoing chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Right, let's stick it to the insurance companies by forcing everyone to buy their product!

No one took more money from the healthcare/insurance/BigPharma sector in the 2008 election cycle than Obama. Not even close. Hope and change!

Obama, Barack (D) $19,578,158
McCain, John (R) $7,418,423
Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $6,630,985
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $1,354,535
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,161,175
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $961,719
Coleman, Norm (R-MN) $898,328
Paul, Ron (R-TX) $874,444
Pallone, Frank Jr (D-NJ) $845,445
Rangel, Charles B (D-NY) $827,549
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) $718,398
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $713,709
Smith, Gordon H (R-OR) $713,013
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $676,949
Harkin, Tom (D-IA) $673,048
Collins, Susan M (R-ME) $659,019
Dingell, John D (D-MI) $573,736
Udall, Mark (D-CO) $560,115
Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $556,918
Price, Tom (R-GA) $529,851

In the 2008 election cycle, the sector gave $90.7 million, or 54 percent of the total, to Democratic candidates and party committees, compared to $76.6 million to Republicans. That difference is even more pronounced in the first three months of 2009, when Democrats collected 60 percent of the total $5.4 million in contributions.

Posted by: lure1 | January 6, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I have some questions. If repealing the healthcare won't add to deficit than why are the republicans passing a rule that discounts the effect of repealing the healthcare law on the deficit? If as they claim the CBO is wrong, than why the special rule that disregards the added cost in repealing the HC bill?

Posted by: Realistic5 | January 6, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Boehner just sworn in two new members of the House and he was clearly under the influence of something. He slurred his words and could not even give the oath properly. If this is what we have to deal with for 2 years we all are truly screwed.

Posted by: sumo1 | January 6, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I have a some questions. If repealing the healthcare won't add to deficit than why are the republicans passing a rule that discounts the effect of repealing the healthcare law on the deficit? If as they claim the CBO is wrong, than why the special rule that disregards the added cost in repealing the HC bill?

Posted by: Realistic5 | January 6, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Boehner should give up the booze, go to rehab, dry out and then tell us all about how he cares about the people. Repealing the Healthcare Law will cost me more money. As of January 1st I am finally starting to payless for premiums and co-pays. But if the law is repealed I will start paying at least 60% more than I did in December. Maybe I should send Boehner a bottle of wine and ask him to reconsider but then I realized that he would down it before giving one of his speeches on the House floor and then we all would be wondering what the hell he said. And I could not put the American people thru that once again.

Posted by: sumo1 | January 6, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

If Boehner wants to challenge the accuracy of the CBO's accounting, he needs to provide the data to backup his claim that their numbers are inaccurate.

If he is banking that the $230 billion will be offset by revenue from new job creation, he needs to tell the public how many jobs the Republicans expect to be created by repealing health care and how much tax revenue those jobs will produce. If he can't or won't, then his defense of GOP plans is meaningless.

This should make those who supported Republicans far angrier than it makes Democrats. It appears that you have been sold a defective product, folks. Where is your righteous indigation?

Posted by: exco | January 6, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Earth to Scottilla: as Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." If the Republicans were serious about deficit reduction--or could do simple arithmetic!--they wouldn't try this stunt.

Stuart Carlson's political cartoon summed this up nicely: http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/client/wpc/sc/2010/12/29/

Take a look!

Posted by: commonsense101 | January 6, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, this is a shamefully dishonest approach to governing.

Including the words 'job killing' in the bill's name is simply dishonest unless you have proof. Where is it?

Ignoring the bi-partisan CBO report because it disagrees with your position and substituting your own information is also simply dishonest.

If we didn't have the CBO, the mind boggles at what repubs would say. Oooops... they are ignoring the CBO report so they are in effect, replacing the 'honest information source' with a highly politicized source.

It's disgusting and if there is any justice at all, it will blow up in their face.

Motion is not a substitute for effective action, although it might entertain the rubes....

Posted by: RichRable | January 6, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Boner just wants to see health care back where it belongs; safely in his corporate masters' hands.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | January 6, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Even if the CBO is correct Democrats should have asked American voters first before passing this odoriferous monstrosity of a bill.

-------------------------------------------------

This is not a direct democracy, it is a representative democracy, meaning that federal legislation does not get passed by referendum, but instead gets passed or rejected based on the votes cast by the congresspersons we vote for. Just because you do not like the legislation does not mean it was passed "against the will of the people", as it would not have become law without the vote of the majority of congress.

Conservatives told liberals to get over it when Bush was elected despite more people voting for Gore, I suggest they take their own advice with regards to health care.

Posted by: johnqpublic1 | January 6, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Boehner, Cantor, et al are full of crap!

I would be surprised if collectively they
could answer 2x2 =

You are still the minority, and will be
even more so after the elections in 2012.

Hey cry-baby Boehner: your meds and alcohol working to keep the tears at
bay?

Blubber, blubber, blubber - and to think
that the people from the District in Ohio
that this idiot represents would put this
nut job in office is amazing. Bad water
up there Ohio?

Posted by: Sirius2 | January 6, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's political theater. That's what it's called when there's no chance of passage.

Is anybody more evil than the American Republican? Murder, torture, stealing from children, never help anybody. One good thing is that once we decent people get to heaven, not one Republican will be there. Hell had to add a new level for the new GOP.

Posted by: bflorhodes | January 6, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Speaker Boehner. Even if the CBO is correct Democrats should have asked American voters first before passing this odoriferous monstrosity of a bill. The cost can be charged against the Democrats. First for the costs to initiate and then the costs to repeal.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 6, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

As a journalist, please ask the new speaker to validate his calling the new health care bill 'job killing'. Where is his data and analysis that it will or has killed jobs? Also, please ask him to validate what he thinks will be the effect of his repaealing the new health care bill. Ask him for his data and analysis. If you, as a reporter aren't willing to make politicians back up what they say with reviewable data, get out of the business.

Posted by: mg11231 | January 6, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

You have your facts, I have mine. You're entitled to whatever facts you prefer.

Posted by: scottilla | January 6, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The GOP believes the CBO only when it serves their purpose. Pathetic.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 6, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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