Obamacare repeal would blow out the deficit

Supreme Court could kill my Obamacare subsidy
Supreme Court could kill my Obamacare subsidy

Republicans argue the federal government can't afford Obamacare. But a new congressional report says repealing the law would cost, not save, more than $100 billion in the next decade.

The report also finds that doing away with the Affordable Care Act would result in 19 million fewer people with health insurance coverage as soon as next year, and 24 million fewer with coverage by 2020.

The analysis is from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

It estimates that the cost of repealing the taxes levied by Obamacare, and the cost controls imposed by the law would by themselves increase the deficit by $353 billion between 2016 to 2025.

Related: 10.2 million people are actually paying for Obamacare

But it also finds that Obamacare is a drag on the economy, and that having a stronger economy would by itself reduce deficits by $216 billion during the same period.

But even with that stronger economy producing more revenue for the government, federal deficits would increase by $137 billion during over the course of those 10 years when the two effects of a repeal are combined.

The report does not talk of employers being unwilling to hire workers because of the need to provide insurance coverage, or cutting back the hours of workers so that they have only part-time status. Those are two supposed effects of the law claimed by opponents of Obamacare but denied by its supporters.

Instead, the report says the main drag on the economy would take place because fewer Americans would choose to work if they could get access to health care coverage without having to join the labor force. Repealing the law would "increase the supply of labor," and boost the amount of wages and other benefits earned.

Related: Employers aren't really cutting health benefits

While the estimated impact on the budget is only given through 2025, the report says deficits are likely to be higher in subsequent decades as well if the law is repealed.

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