Obama healthcare could worsen U.S. debt: Republican study

By | John  Crawley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Instead of curbing government spending, President Barack Obama’s healthcare law could add up to $530 billion to the federal debt over ten years, a Republican expert on U.S. government benefit programs said on Tuesday.

A study by Charles Blahous, a George Mason University research fellow and the Republican trustee for the Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs for the elderly, challenged the administration’s contention that the 2010 law would reduce healthcare costs.

But the Obama administration defended the law as a cost-saver and sharply criticized the report by Blahous, an economic policy adviser under former President George W. Bush.

Known as the “Affordable Care Act,” or by conservatives as “Obamacare,” the measure to expand health insurance for millions of Americans is considered Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

The Supreme Court is weighing whether Congress overstepped its authority to regulate commerce in approving the law. The justices heard arguments in the high-stakes case two weeks ago.

Republican presidential candidates have promised to repeal the law if one of them wins the White House in the November election. Conservatives denounce the sweeping overhaul as an unwarranted government intrusion.

Obama and the Democrats believe the law will control skyrocketing costs and curtail government “red ink.”

White House health adviser Jeanne Lambrew said Blahous’ analysis wrongly charges that some savings are “double counted.” She said government estimates from the Office of Management and Budget and from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office show the 2010 law would lower federal deficits over a 10 year period.

Read the complete article at Reuters.

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