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Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III had a task for the GAO: take out all the reform in Obamacare, and tell me what happens to the deficit. Via Steve Benen, he got the answer he wanted: the deficit increases. Here he is touting this new study.

According to the GAO under a realistic set of assumptions the health care law will increase the deficit by 7/10th percent of GDP or roughly $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years. $6.2 trillion unfunded liability of the United States. In other words, the GAO reveals that the big tax increases in the bill come nowhere close to covering the massive spending.
Sessions told the GAO to project what would happen if the provisions of the bill designed to curb projected growth in health care spending—the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the excise tax on high-cost plans, and reductions in Medicare payments to providers based on performance—were repealed or phased out over time. The GAO said that, yes, taking the cost-saving stuff out of the law, but leaving the rest intact, would cost more money and increase the deficit. But here's what else the GAO said: If the law is implemented as passed, with the cost-saving measures intact, the deficit will decrease 1.5 percent as a share of the economy over the next 75 years, and 1.2 percent of this improvement in the deficit is directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act.

Cooking the books, Republican style. It's not the GAO's fault; Sessions handed them the recipe and directed them to cook the books according to it. So that's what they did. And right on cue, the right-wing media—Fox, National Review, Limbaugh, Drudge—ran with it. Not, of course, the part where the GAO says the cost-saving stuff in the law will save money if it stays in the law. Just the part where if you take out all the stuff that saves money, it costs a lot.

That's policy-making, Republican style.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  28 years later (27+ / 0-)

    and Sessions still hasn't gotten over the sting of his being denied a District Court judgeship because he's a raving racist -- which he continues to confirm to this very day.

    Next on his agenda:  How will Medicare add 56 machillian dollars to the deficit in 10 years if it includes giving every senior a new BMW and free Club Med vacations for life?

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:39:53 AM PST

  •  So, they're want us to believe 10 million jobs (10+ / 0-)

    ....will materialize somewhere down the road if only the sequester is replaced by real cuts, but aren't willing to believe that Obamacare will hold down healthcare costs, even though that's already being demonstrated.


    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:45:25 AM PST

    •  NYT had an article Sunday on another area (0+ / 0-)

      the GAO got trapped into GOP obstruction

      I decided to finish my diary on it. It is dismal.

      Unfunded: Panel on Health Care Workforce to Meet ACA Care

      In short, the House never funded the commission (appointed by the GAO per the law) so it could even try to solve some of the problems.  This time next year, the realistic assumptions of shortages of PCPs, nurses, specialists, CNAs, dentists, and many other health care professionals, is going to tarnish the positives of Obamacare.

      We will find out again that delayed health care, whether from payment or shortage of healthcare workers, increases morbidity and mortality in many lives. Just in time for the '14 vote.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:56:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "...under a realistic set of assumptions..." (9+ / 0-)


    Well Senator Jeff, we all know what happens when you ASS U ME.

  •  gut the money saving provisions (12+ / 0-)

    and it doesn't save money?  really?  no shit??  and if you gut the gasoline from your car, it doesn't get you to work.  if you gut the medicine from your diagnosis, you don't get well.  if you gut the love from your marriage, you don't stay together in harmony.  if you gut god from churches, no salvation is achieved.  if you gut the gop from politics though, you would see an immediate improvement in how it works.  so i guess gutting some things does help.

  •  Teh Stupid! It hurts! eom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spirit of Life, Kevskos

    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all.

    by SanFernandoValleyMom on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:30:00 AM PST

  •  Yes, Senator Sessions is not a 'serious person,' (8+ / 0-)

    to be sure.  And I hope he fails in trying to dismantle the ACA.  

    But I also support continuing to push for Medicare-For-All (MFA).

    Especially, in light of the data that reporter Steven Brill has presented in his excellent Time magazine piece "The Bitter Pill . . .".  It is time for our lawmakers to get serious about passing a Medicare-For-All bill.

    Here's a very brief excerpt, and the link to the article at the PNHP website with their analysis of his findings.  They do link to the entire, extensive article.

    Mr. Brill was on the February 24th This Week, with George Stephanopoulos and the show's Roundtable.  Here's another link to the extended transcript, and my comments.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: But the American public wants health care they can afford, and health care that works for them. And that gets to the subject of Steve Brill's cover story in Time magazine this week, as I said, sending shockwaves to hospitals across the country.

    Let's put up the cover right there, "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us." And you had some shocking details here, Steve, You talk about sky-high medical bills for going to the emergency room for a fall in the face, people paying 1.50 for an aspirin, $300 for an x-ray that costs Medicare $20.

    But that's just the beginning.

    BRILL:  Right. And it actually that bares on the conversation we're having, because a chunk of that money is paid by Medicare. Medicare is I point out in the article is very efficient at most things. It buys health care really efficiently, which is a great irony, because it's supposed to be the big government of bureaucracy.

    Where Medicare is not efficient is where congress, because of lobbyists have handcuffed Medicare. Medicare can't negotiate what it pays for any kind of drugs. It can't negotiate what it pays for wheelchairs, diabetes testing equipment. And if congress took those handcuffs off of Medicare, you could get about half of the spending cuts that we're sitting around here talking about. . . .

    BRILL: Well, if you put Medicare in the context of the larger health care system, and this is something that everybody at this table is going to think that I should go to a mental hospital when I get finished saying this, the government and all of us would actually save money if you lowered -- I said lowered the age for Medicare. If the Medicare age were 60 instead of 65, the economy and the taxpayers would actually save money. And George, please don't look at me like that.

    RATTNER:  You're potentially right. And part of the argument -- you're taking people out of the Medicare age to 67 is you're taking people out of the Medicare system.

    BRILL:  Right. And what you would be doing, is you would be putting the most efficient player, which is Medicare -- Medicare spends 80 or 90 cents to process a claim and the health insurance companies spend $18 or $20 or $25 to process a claim. Health insurance companies pay two, three, four times what Medicare pays for various services. So if you lowered the age, you would put more people into the bucket of much more efficient health care.

    And the worst part about it is, the reforms that we have now, with the president's plan, are actually going to raise the costs because all of the people who are 60, or 62, or 63, who can't afford the premiums that they're going to have now, are going to be subsidized by the taxpayer.

    STEPHANOPOULOS:  George, well that becomes an argument for a single payer system. . . .

    Please take a moment to follow the links.  

    This is truly a mind-boggling exposé of our broken health care system.


    "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson


    by musiccitymollie on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:06:41 AM PST

  •  this is especially effective BS because of their (5+ / 0-)

    radio advantage- this meme will go uncorrected and become part of the general myth and repeated as long as relevant, from 1000 radio stations, repeated by national and local talkers without correction in real time except in a few rare occasions  where someone gets past a call screener.

    in almost every other medium there will be opportunities for direct or almost direct correction within the medium.

    this will become part of their un-reality primarily because of unchallenged radio repetition.  fox and RW internet will reinforce it but they could not do that.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 12:40:11 PM PST

  •  Medicare projections from 4 years ago (4+ / 0-)

    The Medicare projections 4 years ago were off by $150 billion dollars.  They projected that expenses would be $150 billion more than they actually are.  So we are suppose to believe they can project expenses out 75 years?   Imagine that in 1937 the FDR administration had projected medical anything for 2012.  How right do you thing they would have been.  How many deaths from Polio you think they might have assumed?  Strep Throat?

    What nonsense.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:04:57 PM PST

  •  If the world were square (4+ / 0-)

    well, actually, it can't be square, but still, if it was, you could fall off the edge.   As Sessions and the other racist, bat shit crazy conservatives have.

  •  6.2 trillion over... (4+ / 0-)


    How much have we wasted in the last more than 10 years of war.  And don't get me started on the other defense department waste.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:08:08 PM PST

  •  Senator Sessions does budget math the way I ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... did high school Algebra 1 - take out everything you don't agree with and anything you don't understand and then guess at the solution. Crumple your paper a little, maybe do an erasure or two, so your paper will look like you worked really really hard at it and at least, you will get an answer.

    Senator, I didn't get away with it, either.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:09:29 PM PST

  •  So, what would happen to my personal finances. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, happymisanthropy

    if I didn't have to pay bills anymore, made a Senator's salary, and caught a leprechaun?

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:20:11 PM PST

  •  I need to find a magic lamp (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So I can rub it and wish for a competitive Democrat to challenge Sessions when he comes up for re-election in 2014.

    Right now the Democratic bench in Alabama is empty. If we are ever to be able to challenge trolls like Sessions, we have to spend some time and money on developing Democratic candidates across the state.

    Sessions is such a disgusting troll because he knows he has nothing to fear from Alabama Democrats and he is so far to the right that not even a Tea Party fanatic could get away with challenging him in a primary.

  •  Are Republicans born this stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Or do they have to work at it?
    Or maybe they're just craven liars and think the American public is stupid.

  •  Talking points, made to order nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:21:36 PM PST

  •  To defend the GAO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, devis1

    To defend the GAO, they didn't say what the Republicans are saying - the Republicans are lying, and they know it. That's why they used so many weasel words. For example, describing an implausible scenario as "under a realistic set of assumptions" they think that they can get off on a technicality. Of course, any decent journalist would call up the GAO and confirm Session's spin, then report that Sessions is lying about the GAO's analysis.

  •  plenty of things he must know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are not factual statements..........

    How do you sleep at night when you cook books that way to your public?

  •  I guess they didn't like what the CBO said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    What Is the Impact of Repealing the ACA on the Federal Budget?
    Assuming that H.R. 6079 is enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2013, CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting that legislation would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period. Specifically, we estimate that H.R. 6079 would reduce direct spending by $890 billion and reduce revenues by $1 trillion between 2013 and 2022, thus adding $109 billion to federal budget deficits over that period.

    Some people have short memories

    by lenzy1000 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:35:12 PM PST

  •  Empirical Data, Republican Style (0+ / 0-)

    We have no clue what medicine will look like in 75 years (I say that from the perspective of having watched how much medicine has changed since the 1950's), nor any idea what costs will be. And Sessions takes such a fanciful projection, deletes all the cost saving features and claims the ACA will increase the deficit. That's about like calling a car band unsafe, after removing the brakes.

    Sessions is incompetent even for country lawyer in the rural South.

  •  The new thrift (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    From the CBO report linked:

    ...while the steps taken in PPACA to restrain spending on the federal health programs were significant, they were not sufficient to prevent an unsustainable increase in debt held by the public even under the more optimistic assumptions in our Baseline Extended simulation. The net effect of changes to spending and revenue on the federal budget were relatively small in the first few decades in both simulations, and the improvements in the Baseline Extended simulations from January 2010 to Fall 2010 do not significantly slow the growth in debt held by the public until the outyears. Debt as a share of GDP still reached the historical high of 109 percent by 2036 in the Fall 2010 Baseline Extended simulation— just 1 year later than it did in the January 2010 Baseline Extended simulation...

    The Trustees, CBO, and OACT have questioned whether the cost- containment mechanisms enacted in PPACA can be sustained over the long term, due in part to the challenges in sustaining increases in health care productivity. ... The lower payment rate updates to most categories of Medicare providers specified under PPACA have only begun to be implemented. It remains unclear what actions providers will take to improve their productivity and reduce unnecessary expenditures in response to these lower payment rate updates. According to OACT, however, health care productivity gains have historically been small due to such factors as the labor-intensive nature of the industry and the individual customization of treatments in many cases.26 Consequently, OACT said this makes it unlikely that actual health provider productivity will be equal to the economy as a whole over sustained periods
  •  I don't believe it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Because Jeff Sessions is too dumb to come up with something like this on his own.  Must have gotten a new staff member.

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