The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday (Nov. 8) said that repealing the health reform law's expansion of health insurance coverage would generate $150 billion in savings in 2020, the largest health deficit reduction option the office listed in a new report as Congress gets ready to pivot to address the looming "fiscal cliff."
The report was released as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told ABC News that "Obamacare is the law of the land" and the House would halt full repeal efforts, while adding there are parts of the law that should be on the table as lawmakers negotiate how to reduce the federal deficit.
Progressives are already telling the White House that cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that would impact beneficiaries should not be on the table for deficit reduction, and ACA supporters say pieces of the law such as the higher federal Medicaid matching rate for states that expand their programs should not be reduced. Others add that they believe the health law's private insurance subsidies will also be in play for lawmakers to pare back during upcoming fiscal talks.
CBO says repealing the individual mandate would save $40 billion in 2020, increasing Part B premiums to 35 percent of the program's cost would also save $40 billion annually, and limiting medical malpractice torts would save $10 billion.
CBO also lists raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 as a deficit reduction option, which would save $30 billion in 2020. Hospital lobbyists view this as an option that could gain bipartisan support.
Expanding Medicaid rebates into Part D for low-income beneficiaries would save $15 billion annually, as would adding a "public plan" to exchanges, CBO says.