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Taxpayer's Tab Issue #19

July 26, 2012

 

 

 

Vol. 3 Issue 19 July 26, 2012

 

NTUF & Friends Commemorate the Late Milton Friedman's Birthday

Sponsored by: National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Alexandria Taxpayers United, BlueSkin Solutions, Carleson Center for Public Policy, and Alexandria Liberty on the Rocks

Calling all free-market advocates, policy experts, lawmakers, and citizens! Join the National Taxpayers Union Foundation for our 4th Milton Friedman Legacy Day event at the famous Columbia Firehouse Restaurant (3rd floor) in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Over the years, we’ve celebrated Dr. Friedman’s work in economics, education reform, and liberty through roundtable discussions and film viewings. This year, be on hand with NTUF and friends as we debut an EXCLUSIVE interview between Friedman and the late NTUF President John Berthoud. Friedman and Berthoud spoke about the role of antitrust laws in driving businesses to lobby government and divert resources from producing goods that make our lives better. This will be the first time that the interview has been made available in a digital format.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served and drinks will be available for purchase.

Please feel free to invite your co-workers and friends to what will be a great remembrance of a great man!

Details:

  • DATE: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 5:30PM to 9:00PM
  • LOCATION: Columbia Firehouse
  • Register: Facebook or Evite
  • Metro: Blue/Yellow Line – King Street Station
    (20-minute walk) Trolley
  • Parking: Street parking out front and parking garages are nearby

If you have any questions or wish to join the other Alexandria organizations in cosponsoring this event, email dbarrett@ntu.org.

Legislative Spotlight: How Much Would “Obamacare” Repeal Save?

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a cost estimate for H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, sponsored by Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) (with 162 cosponsors). This bill is the House’s latest legislative attempt to undo the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which passed in 2010. CBO concludes that, if enacted, the direct spending and tax provisions repealed H.R. 6079 would lead to “a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013 – 2022 period.” This would occur because CBO estimates that PPACA would rake in $1 trillion in taxes over the next ten years but would spend less than that. The deficit projection also excludes discretionary spending changes that could occur under repeal. NTU Foundation’s BillTally project can shed more light on the fiscal details of this legislation. According to data in the report and additional information provided in a previous CBO analysis, repealing the health care package could reduce outlays by $926 billion over ten years, a combination of direct spending and discretionary changes.

The goal of our BillTally study is to track the net change in spending of legislation over a five-year window. Revenues, i.e. tax receipts, are excluded. By tracking the cost of legislation sponsored by Senators and Representatives, BillTally calculates each Members’ spending agenda total. This figure shows the net change in outlays that would occur if each of the bills that a lawmaker supports were to become law.

If H.R. 6079 were enacted, outlays would decrease by a net of $319.5 billion over the next five years, for an annualized savings of $63.9 billion.

Estimated Spending Impact of H.R. 6079 for FY 2013-2017
(in billions)

 

FY 2013

FY 2014

FY 2015

FY 2016

FY 2017

FY 2013-2017

Total Direct Spending

-$2

-$18

-$61

-$102

-$119

-$302

Discretionary Costs for Implementation: Internal Revenue Service

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$5

Discretionary Costs for Implementation: Department of Health and Human Services

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$1

-$5

Other Discretionary Spending*

-$1.5

-$1.5

-$1.5

-$1.5

-$1.5

-$7.5

Total

-$5.5

-$21.5

-$64.5

-$105.5

-$122.5

-$319.5

* CBO’s analysis of H.R. 2, a PPACA repeal bill from 2011, indicated that PPACA included around $100 billion in other discretionary authorizations, $85 billion of which were for existing programs that would likely continue to receive funding regardless of the passage of PPACA.

The bulk of the costs result from the net changes in direct spending. The CBO report estimated the effect of several provisions of PPACA that would impact direct spending for a net cost of $890 billion over ten years, a mix of increases minus reductions. The increases would total $1.632 trillion over the next ten years. Figure 1, below, shows the cost of the three largest direct spending provisions in the health care bill.

Figure 1. Major Direct Spending Increases in PPACA

PPACA also included some direct spending reductions totaling $741 billion over the next ten years that would be repealed under H.R. 6079. Figure 2 shows the impact of the three largest reductions. Cuts in fee-for-service payments under Medicare result in the largest share of these reductions. As has been noted elsewhere, Congress passed a previous law to reduce physician payments under Medicare, but has regularly taken action to prevent those reductions from ever taking place. PPACA reduces the fee-for-service payments to providers without implementing reforms to control costs. It is highly likely that Congress would have to revisit these reductions, and even CBO has cast doubt on the long-term sustainability of this PPACA policy.

Figure 2. Major Direct Spending Reductions in PPACA

In determining an estimate of the savings for H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act introduced in 2011, NTUF excluded CBO’s figures regarding the CLASS Act provisions in PPACA. This established a long-term care insurance program that would have started collecting premiums – scored as offsetting receipts or negative spending – in 2012 but would not have started paying benefits until 2017, outside of the five-year budget window NTUF uses to score legislation. CBO estimated the premiums would collect $48 billion from 2012 to 2016. There was good reason to be skeptical of the long-term fiscal health of this program. CBO forecast that after ten years, the program would spend more on benefits than it would receive in premiums. The federal government also evidently became concerned about the program’s sustainability: in October of 2011, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that she did not “see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.” Passage of H.R. 6079 would preclude the Executive branch from attempting to implement this program in the future.

PPACA also included discretionary spending that H.R. 6079 would repeal. Based on data provided by CBO, this could save up to $17.5 billion from FY 2013-2017. CBO notes that implementation costs for the health care bill could run up to $20 billion over ten years for the Internal Revenue Service and HHS. In addition, the program included $100 billion in other discretionary spending over ten years. In its report for H.R. 2 last year, CBO noted that $85 billion of this amount was for previously existing programs that would likely have continued to receive funding even if PPACA were not enacted.

Program costs for PPACA have increased since CBO last scored repeal legislation. Based on CBO date, NTUF determined that passage of H.R. 2 would have reduced spending by $40.3 billion annually from FY 2012 to FY 2017. The estimate has grown to $63.9 billion because of the timing of the new estimate – the bill’s implementation is now one year further along and so the new estimate includes an extra year of the health insurance exchange subsidies. In addition, CBO has revised several of its projections for several of the components of the complicated health care package. For example, the projected cost of the health insurance subsidies has increased. Previously, CBO estimated they would cost $176 billion from FY 2013 to 2017. The new analysis hiked the estimate to $233 billion over the same time period.

To learn more or discuss the Repeal of Obamacare Act, visit WashingtonWatch.com.

About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 



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