Republicans seized on two new reports that came out Thursday, which raised questions about some of the claims of those who backed the brand new health care reform law that was given final approval last month.
First, the Congressional Budget Office weighed in with a review of the penalties on individuals for not buying health insurance, the so-called individual mandate, which is being challenged in court by a number of Republican Attorneys General.
The CBO found that in 2017-2019, those penalties would be bringing in $4 billion a year.
The review also said that about three quarters of that money would come from individuals making less than $60,000 per year and families with less than $120,000 in yearly income.
GOP lawmakers wasted little time using the new information to bash Democrats, charging that middle income families are going to see their taxes go up to pay for health reform.
Meanwhile, the Medicare Actuary did its own full scale review of the new health law and raised new questions about whether the plan will really reduce the rate of growth in health care spending.
While the report said a series of plans would "have a downward impact on future hearlth care cost growth rates," the study said "these effects would be outweighed by the increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance coverage."
The actuary raised questions about proposed Medicare cuts and whether those might be rolled back by the Congress because of political pressures, and said it's "doubtful" that Congress would really hold the line on Medicare payments to doctors.
One other interesting note from this study was a paragraph on the new Community Living Assistance Services and Supports insurance program for home care, known as the CLASS Act.
While it produces a $38 billion net savings through 2019, that's mainly because you have to pay five years of premiums before you can start taking advantage of the program.
After that, the Medicare Actuary doesn't like the way it looks in financial terms.
"Over the longer term, expenditures would exceed premium receipts, and there is a very serious risk that the program would become unsustainable as a result," the study says.
This 38 page report is chock full of items like that which are certain to be gobbled up by critics of the law, who argue it will blow a hole in the federal budget.
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