You gotta just love the new (same as the old) Republican majority in the House. The very first thing they do is kinda/sorta introduce new rules:
After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.
Some rules are more equal than others, though:
The new Republican majority in the House is learning already that governing is harder than campaigning.
They vow to repeal President Obama’s health reform. But they say they want to reduce the deficit, too, so one of their rules requires that any new legislation be paid for fully.
Here’s the problem: The health care reform includes new taxes and a tough cut in Medicare spending. It actually reduces the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So if you kill health reform, the rules require that you find offsetting spending cuts or tax increases to plug that gap.
So Republicans have decided to exempt health reform from the rule. That deficit they talked so much about during the campaign? Never mind.
We haven’t seen this kind of hypocrisy in Washington since … a few weeks ago, when Republicans insisted on extending tax cuts to the wealthy and didn’t pay for that either.
And about those massive costs associated with the repeal of health care reform? I know it is all fashionable for the Republicans to call the CBO a bunch of liars (and for the glibertarians to come riding, once again, to their defense), but the CBO is not backing down:
The estimate for H.R. 2 will differ in one significant way from the estimate for the enacted health care legislation. The original estimate covered the period from 2010 through 2019, the period used for Congressional budget enforcement procedures when the legislation was being considered; new estimates will span the period from 2012 to 2021.
Today’s letter describes—in broad terms and on a preliminary basis—CBO’s assessment of the effects that repealing PPACA and the relevant provisions of the Reconciliation Act would have on federal budget deficits, the federal government’s budgetary commitment to health care, the number of people with health insurance, and health insurance premiums in the private market. (Repealing the provisions of that legislation would also have a variety of other effects on the health care and health insurance systems that this letter, like previous CBO cost estimates, does not address.)
Impact on the Federal Budget in the First Decade
As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion (on the basis of the original estimate), plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes.
I’m sure all the Republicans need to do to dispute this new report is borrow a calculator from the Atlantic’s Business and Economics Editor.