President Litella Strikes Again

Published October 15, 2014

It’s hard to keep track of all the “never mind” moments the Obama administration seems to be having regarding Obamacare – “you can keep your plan,” “you can keep your doctor,” “health premiums willl go down,” and so forth. I think we can add another to the list of things that turned out to be not-quite-accurate, the long-stated claim that Obamacare will lower the deficit.

From Robert Moffit at The Heritage Foundation:

Report: Obamacare Will Add $131 Billion to Federal Deficits in Next Decade

Among President Obama’s many high-profile health care promises, there is this gem from his 2009 address to Congress: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits–either now or in the future.”

But according to Republican staff on Senate Budget Committee, those dimes are starting to pile up. The Senate staff report says that the Affordable Care Act will add $131 billion to the federal deficits over the period 2015 to 2024…

The report basically analyzes three different components of the supposed deficit reduction, and concludes that one (lower-than-expected enrollment) actually does further reduce the projected deficit, while the two other components, projected Medicare and Medicaid growth baselines and a reduction in work by Americans because of Obamacare’s economic disincentives, both of which add to the deficit.

There’s a certain amount of counting-the-number-of-angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-the-pin going on with all of these deficit and economic projections, and I personally don’t put all that much stock in the accuracy of these estimates. Nonetheless, it is interesting that at least according to the Congressional Budget Office (that’s whose numbers the GOP staff relied on for their analysis) the Obama administration’s claim that Obamacare would lower the deficit has about as much connection to the real world as the rants of Emily Litella, famed editorialist of Saturday Night Live’s ‘Weekend Update.’