CBO: Republican bill to improve Obamacare would increase deficit, reduce insured

Last week I wrote about one of the Republican bills to change the Obamacare law by excusing large employers from the mandate to provide health insurance for employees who worked between 30 and 39 hours a week.

The point of that piece was to focus on what I considered the deceptive language used by by Sen. Tim Scott, a Senate sponsor of the law, who suggested that employers who cut workers from 40 to 29 hours in order to avoid having to provide insurance benefits would be “complying” with the law, rather than seeking to defeat its purpose.

This morning, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the House version of the bill, titled the “Save American Workers Act,” which The Hill says has been touted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a top legislative priority for Republicans.

CBO concludes that the bill’s effects would increase deficits by $74 billion over the next 10 years, reduce the number of people who would otherwise have employer-subsidized health insurance by 1 million, increase the number who would end up getting insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by something between half a million and a million, and therefore result in an increase in the total number of uninsured by half a million or less. The increase in the deficit would mostly come from the cost of increasing those on government-provided health care and reducing the amount the Treasury would collect in penalties that the government would impose on employers who don’t provide insurance.

As I said in the previous post, the Obamacare case is extremely complicated with many moving parts. Efforts to amend it likewise have complicated costs and benefits. Those who now say they want to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act should be pressed to be specific and substantive about their alternative ideas for reducing the number of uninsured Americans, so the complicated costs and benefits can be assessed.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 02/26/2014 - 10:49 am.

    Stand by your vote!!

    Those who voted for the unaffordable care act need to defend it and run for re- election on the legislation they passed. They should not run away from this law (as many are doing).

    The people will decide if they like their congress person, they can keep their congress person.

    Also Eric, since when are you concerned about deficits?

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/26/2014 - 11:04 am.

    What price freedom

    “The increase in the deficit would mostly come from … reducing the amount the Treasury would collect in penalties that the government would impose on employers who don’t provide insurance.” Which apparently is $7.4 billion a year, a mere pittance in an era of 500 billion dollar deficits.

    But for that cost we regain our freedom to choose again. A small price to pay.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/26/2014 - 07:17 pm.


      People should have only as much freedom as they can afford.
      How much freedom do you have when you die young because you can’t afford adequate health care?
      As Kris Kristofferson put it:
      “Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose,
      nuthin’ ain’t worth nuthin’ but it’s free.”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/27/2014 - 06:37 am.


      I really hope you never actually have to experience living in a country that has no freedom. It would be an eye-opener for you.

  3. Submitted by Mr Utley on 02/26/2014 - 11:22 am.

    Republican bill to decimate Obamacare would increase deficit, reduce insured.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/26/2014 - 11:41 am.


    Well, there’s another Republican proposal that’s destined for the trash bin of history.

    When is someone on either side of the isle going to propose universal single payer health care? All we’re doing with ACA and these Republican bills is to kick the can up and down the field while the public sits sick on the sidelines. Stop messing around and get a goal through the posts so we can move on to other problems this country needs to address.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/27/2014 - 06:54 pm.

      I suspec that

      if you talk to some of the more progressive Dems they’d tell you that a national health care (universal single payer) would be an ideal solution. They also know that any such legislation wouldn’t make it to the ER alive.

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