Republicans reject CBO estimate of budget effects of healthcare repeal

House Republicans are rejecting a Congressional Budget Office analysis that says repealing last year's healthcare reform bill would increase the budget deficit by $145 billion through 2019, $230 billion through 2021, and add to deficits in the decade after that (although CBO does not have a firm estimate for the second decade).

In Thursday's Rules Committee hearing on a pending healthcare reform bill, Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said Republicans have a "response" to that CBO analysis: a new House Budget Committee report that says enactment of the healthcare law will add $701 billion to the deficit in 10 years and will cost $2.6 trillion when fully implemented.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) said Dreier's comments worry him because they imply CBO estimates will be ignored when Republicans disagree with them and will be replaced by Republican estimates. Dreier responded by saying Republicans want to look at the cost of legislation beyond a 10-year timeframe in order to ensure Congress does not pass legislation that might save money early on but lead to an "explosion" in spending in later years.

The Rules Committee hearing began at 10 a.m. and is expected to take up much of the rest of today, after which a vote on the rule for the repeal bill, H.R. 2, is expected.

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