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CBO: We still think PPACA repeal would cost plenty

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Officials at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are just saying no to the idea of coming up with another estimate of how much repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would cost.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf broke the news to supporters of H.R. 45, a PPACA repeal bill that’s set to come to the House floor Thursday, in a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, and to several other House committee leaders.

Ryan had asked the CBO to provide an H.R. 45 cost estimate.

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to do so,” Elmendorf wrote in the letter. “Preparing a new estimate of the budgetary impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would take considerable time—probably several weeks—for CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), because there are hundreds of provisions in the ACA and those provisions are already in various stages of implementation.”

In the past several years, the Republican majority in the House has voted to pass many full and partial PPACA repeal bills. In the Senate, Democrats have voted to kill all of the bills.

Analysts at the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in July 2012 that, over the period from 2013 through 2022, repealing PPACA would increase the federal budget deficit by about $109 billion, Elmendorf said.

The analysts have not yet updated that figure ‘to reflect new baseline budget projections, but, if they did so, the results would probably be similar, Elmendorf said.

Back in July, the analysts were estimating that PPACA repeal would lead to about $1.2 trillion in savings and new revenue over a 10-year period, and about $1.3 trillion in new spending and lost revenue, Elmendorf said.

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