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Letter: Health care reform not really reducing costs


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

To the editor:

While balanced and providing ammunition for both sides of the Obamacare debate, one part of Martin Schram’s commentary, “Obamacare tidbits you likely never knew about,” (Daily Journal, April 22) was particularly telling about Washington.

The Congressional Budget Office’s updated estimates, while revised downward from February projections, do not represent a “savings” as Schram says. Instead, the budget office in its “Updated Estimates of the Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, April 2014” says:

“CBO and JCT (Joint Committee on Taxation) now estimate that the net cost to the federal government of those provisions for fiscal year 2014 will be $36 billion, $5 billion less than the previous estimate of $41 billion, and that the net cost for the 2015–24 period will be $1,383 billion, $104 billion (or 7 percent) below the previous estimate of $1,487 billion ...”

No mention of savings. Elsewhere the budget office states, “The ACA will have a smaller budgetary costs than those agencies estimated in February 2014;” and on Page 1 in summarizing its findings the budget office references “budgetary effects.” In the real world, which excludes Washington, words like “net cost,” “budgetary cost” and “budgetary effects” are typically not associated with “savings.”

Using Schram’s economic reasoning, if a household projected its May grocery expenses to increase $150 but grocery expenses went up only $100, that household saved $50. If only the household had projected a $300 increase it could have saved $200. Now that’s “savings” Washington-style.

Stephen LePage

Greenwood

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