Politics
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)  

GAO report says Obamacare not paid for, despite presidential promise

When pitching the bill in 2009, President Barack Obama said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “would not add one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that “Obamacare” will take a .7 percent bite out of GDP over a 75-year period, amounting to $6.2 trillion in deficits.

The report places those numbers in context of what it described as a realistic worst-case scenario, in which the doubts of the Congressional Budget Office, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Trustees (CMO) and Medicare chief actuary hold true about long-term cost containment.

At a hearing Tuesday, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions said the GAO’s non-partisan report reveals “the dramatic falsehoods that were used to push [the bill] to passage.”

“The big-government crowd in Washington manipulated the numbers in order get the financial score they wanted, in order to get their bill passed and to increase power and influence,” Sessions said.

The GAO’s report on the effects of Obamacare is the first to examine its impact outside a 10-year budget window, which diminishes its long-term impact and was central to Democrats’ arguments for the bill, Sessions suggested.

In addition to $6.2 trillion more in a worst-case scenario, the report describes a mild “baseline” scenario as well. It places aside the doubts of the CBO, CMO and Medicare’s chief actuary, but still shows cost containment measures falling short.

As they currently stand, those measures include decreases in Medicare and Medicaid payments relative to the programs’ expansions, decreased payments to providers leading efficiencies, and a 15-member advisory board with independent power to enact cuts.