Taxpayer's Tab: Spending Would Decrease if Affordable Care Act Repealed

Vol. 4 Issue 18 May 16, 2013

In this edition of The Taxpayer's Tab we bring you the latest research into spending proposals coming out of Congress. As the 100th legislative day of the 113th approaches at the end of May, our Representatives and Senators have been busy drafting a lot of bills. Which of these would grow or shrink the federal budget the most? Below is a list of the legislation introduced and scored so far that would enact the largest spending increases and decreases.

But first, with the House voting on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- also known as "Obamacare" -- the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has again released a report emphasizing the underlying bill's impact on the deficit. NTUF has insight on the context of this figure and how repeal could impact taxpayers.

Spending Would Decrease if Affordable Care Act Repealed

The Bill: H.R. 45, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

Annualized Cost: $63.9 billion ($319.5 billion over five years)

Today, the House is expected to vote on a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health-related portions of the ACA's companion Reconciliation Act. A companion to H.R. 45 has been introduced in the Senate in the form of S. 177 by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) but has not seen action on the floor. The measure has been a cornerstone of the House Republican platform since retaking the House in the 2010 elections. This will be the third time Representatives will have voted on a full repeal of ACA. In addition, seven laws have been passed that would eliminate parts of the controversial bill, including the elimination of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports a new long-term care entitlement program included in the ACA but which the Department of Health and Human Services put on hold after determining that the costs would be unsustainable.

With the House set to take up H.R. 45, CBO reported that it would be unable to complete a full cost estimate before the floor vote. In a letter to Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), CBO noted that repealing the ACA would increase the budget deficit by $109 billion from FY 2013 to FY 2022. This figure was originally arrived at in its 2012 report on H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act (112th Congress). Given the magnitude of the ACA's spending, tax, and regulatory impacts, focusing on its alleged deficit effect misses the mark.

Following the release of CBO's 2012 estimate, NTUF noted:

" ... CBO's estimate makes for a misguided story angle because it de-emphasizes the burdens imposed by [ACA] through its skyrocketing price tag and its array of taxes and 'tax-penalties.' It also overlooks the tenuous nature of a significant portion of the spending reductions included in the health care overhaul. Moreover, that deficit impact projection excludes discretionary spending changes that could occur under repeal."

ACA's price tag has been steadily growing each time it is re-evaluated by CBO. Previously, CBO estimated that the health insurance subsidies would cost $176 billion from FY 2013 to 2017. The 2012 analysis hiked the estimate to $233 billion over the same time period -- a significant 32 percent jump. Overall, the CBO report showed that eliminating ACA programs and activities would cut spending by $319.5 billion over five years, or $63.9 billion annually. In addition, CBO's analysis pegged the net burden of the tax components of the ACA at $1 trillion (over ten years), including $55 billion in "tax-penalty" payments by the uninsured under the individual mandate.

When CBO does complete a newer analysis of repealing the ACA, NTUF will again attempt to break out the various tax and spending burdens detailed in the report.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit


BillTally Update: The Biggest Spending and Cut Proposals So Far

So far in the 113th Congress, over 1900 House and 900 Senate bills have been introduced. While NTUF continues to analyze and score these measures (as introduced), taxpayers can see the most and least expensive bills we have scored so far. Many of the following bills would accomplish similar policies (for example, the pair of  universal health care proposals or the multiple rescissions bills). Note: Scores are preliminary, subject to change, and annualized. Cost and savings figures that are linked link to corresponding Taxpayer's Tab articles but may be from a previous Congress and/or have been updated with new information.

Most Expensive Proposals:

Least Expensive Proposals:

Photo Credit: KFYR-TV


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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.

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