On June 18, House Republicans passed Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-AZ) bill banning abortion after 20 weeks (H.R. 1797; aka, “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”). The high cost of social conservatism is evident in the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the cost of implementing the Republican bill.
They write, “CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1797 would generate changes in direct spending that would increase federal budget deficits by $75 million over the 2014-2018 period and $225 million over the 2014-2023.”
Since 40% of all births are paid for by Medicaid, the CBO estimates that federal spending on Medicaid will rise as more women are giving birth when they really didn’t want to/couldn’t afford to/etc. The CBO estimated an additional 1/4 of births that would have been terminated based on the idea that 3/4 would get earlier terminations. However, they note, “If only half of those women were to obtain earlier abortions, then federal spending could rise by more than $400 million over 10 years.” In other words, the $225 million is a low figure based on their expectation that most women would seek an earlier termination.
The increase in births would cause an increase federal Medicaid spending by $225 million, while states would take an additional hit of another $170 million in Medicaid costs over 10 years, since states fund part of the costs for Medicaid. These costs wouldn’t just come from births but also from the fact that some of these children would be eligible for Medicaid.
Ironically, the CBO finds that the 2010 Pay-as-you-go Act would apply to the Republican bill. PAYGO means that all new legislation that changes taxes, fees, or mandatory expenditures, taken together, must not increase projected deficits.
The CBO notes, “Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending as shown in the following table. (In addition, there would be a negligible effect on revenues from new fines collected.)” In other words, Republicans didn’t fund their bill and it does add to the deficit, so they must find a way to pay for it with either increased revenue (aka, taxes) or cuts.
Why didn’t they tell us what they were planning to cut in order to pay for this? I’d bet they have their eye on making cuts to Medicaid. Wouldn’t that be perfect? You must have this baby and now you also must pay for it, whether you can afford to or not.
If the deficit is really such a big deal that these same House Republicans who just passed this bill are going to hold the debt ceiling hostage soon (as they threaten they will), the media ought to be asking them how they justify adding $225 million to the federal deficit and how they are going to pay for their bill. As of right now, this is yet another Republican bill that is not funded (unlike ObamaCare, but just like Bush’s Medicare Part D).
Though to be fair, this might just be a sneaky way for Republicans to increase the deficit under Obama, who shrank the deficit by a total of $300 billion dollars over the first four years of his presidency.
And yes, the Republican bill is just like they told you ObamaCare was, only for real. The CBO writes that it “would impose both intergovernmental and private-sector mandates on physicians who perform abortions and would preempt state and local laws that regulate abortions.” Looks like we just found the Republican Lie of the Year Death Panels, only these are actually in the legislation.
For a real taste of ironic projection, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) expressed perfectly the Republican argument against ObamaCare in a June 27th letter, “(W)e opposed it (ObamaCare) based on compelling evidence that it would raise health care costs, dramatically increase the tax burden on already struggling Americans, and raid Medicare to fund an entirely new entitlement program that we simply can’t afford. Perhaps most concerning of all, Obamacare would also direct the federal government to intervene into some of Americans’ most personal health care decisions.”
If the Senate doesn’t stop this bill, President Obama has promised to veto it.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.