House Republicans are poised to vote once again on repealing the Affordable Care Act – I’ll have more on that in the morning – and they asked the Congressional Budget Office to score their bill before the vote. The CBO responded with a letter today (pdf), explaining it won’t have time to provide House members with these cost estimates.
That the CBO did not say, “It doesn’t matter anyway, since this is a ridiculous political exercise, and we have real work to do,” I consider a terrific example of professional restraint.
The Congressional Budget Office did, however, note that it already provided a repeal score last year, and those figures can serve as a guide for lawmakers.
In that  letter, CBO indicated that the net savings from eliminating the insurance coverage provisions of the [Affordable Care Act] would be more than offset by the combination of other spending increases and revenue reductions that repeal of the ACA would entail. On balance, CBO and [the Joint Committee on Taxation] estimated, repealing the ACA would affect direct spending and revenues in ways resulting in a net increase in budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013-2022 period.
Right. Republicans say they want to lower the deficit, and they say they want to destroy the Affordable Care Act without replacing it, but they don’t realize those two goals are contradictory. If they repeal “Obamacare,” they add $109 billion to the deficit in the coming decade.
It’s all a partisan charade anyway, so I realize we’re well past the point of a mature debate about public policy, but just once I’d like to hear someone ask a House Republican leader, “How do you intend to pay for repealing the health care law?”