The Affordable Care Act isn't going to reduce the deficit as the Congressional Budget Office claims; it's going to expand it by more than $340 billion, according to a new study by Charles Balhous, the GOP trustee for Medicare. Balhous argues that traditional budget math "double counts" $575 billion in Medicare savings, using it to both reinforce the Medicare trust fund and offset an expansion of Medicaid and insurance subsidies, the Washington Post explains.
The White House dismissed Balhous' analysis, saying it departed from accounting rules used for four decades to measure budget impact. "Opponents of reform are using 'new math,'" one official said. But the CBO and Medicare actuaries have acknowledged the double-counting issue as legitimate. "This isn't just a persnickety point," Balhous argues. "If Medicare were going insolvent in 2016, you'd better believe right now there would be more pressure on lawmakers to do something."