CBO: Repealing Obama healthcare law will increase budget deficit

Congressional budget analysts said Wednesday that repealing ObamaCare would increase the deficit by scrapping the law's taxes, fees and spending cuts.

The notice from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came ahead of Thursday's House vote on full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The CBO refused to provide a new cost estimate for repeal, saying there is too little time before the vote. But Director Doug Elmendorf pointed to an estimate from July 2012 that abolishing healthcare reform would raise the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years.

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"Although [we] have not updated that estimate to reflect the most recent baseline projections, we anticipate a similar result were we to do so," Elmendorf wrote in a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) fiscal impact is a major source of conflict between Republicans and Democrats.

Conservatives warn the law will be a budget disaster as more and more people receive government benefits. Democrats say healthcare reform was designed to cut the deficit and curb healthcare cost growth.

The House last voted for full repeal in July 2012 following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the healthcare law.

That month, the nonpartisan CBO said that eliminating the law's expensive coverage provisions would be more than offset by repealing its taxes, fees and Medicare cuts, resulting in a deficit increase.

Elmendorf returned to this analysis Wednesday in his letter to Ryan. He guessed that savings from repealing the law's healthcare benefits would be somewhat higher than before, but that the cost of repealing its revenue provisions would also be higher.

Recently, the CBO reported an overall decrease in the budget deficit that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attributed to healthcare reform.

The office also said yesterday that the law's unpopular taxes and mandates will affect fewer people and businesses than previously thought. This will raise less revenue to fund the law and increase the net cost of its coverage provisions by $40 billion over 10 years, the CBO said.

Thursday's vote will mark the 37th time House Republicans have sought to repeal, defund or dismantle healthcare reform in the last two Congresses. The bill is H.R. 45 from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).