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Pelosi: ObamaCare 'largely responsible' for bringing down deficit

May 14, 2013
The Hill
Daniel Strauss

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that President Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law is helping to bring down the deficit.

"Many of the initiatives that he passed are what are coming to bear now, including the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "The Affordable Care Act is bringing the cost of health care in our country down in both the public and private sector. And that is what is largely responsible for the deficit coming down."

The CBO reported last week that the federal budget deficit declined in the first seven months of fiscal year 2013 compared to 2012.

Pelosi’s comments come as the administration begins to roll out their healthcare reforms amid controversy and pushback from GOP lawmakers who have vowed to undo the law.

Republicans and Democrats have sparred over the effect of the healthcare reform law on the nation’s budget, with GOP lawmakers warning it will increase the deficit.

A February report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) cautioned that the law could either increase or decrease the deficit, depending on the success and implementation of numerous cost-cutting provisions in its language.

Republicans, however, seized on the report, arguing that its figures showed a likely $6.2 trillion deficit increase over the next 75 years, based on the end of cost-containment measures.

The administration, though, has cited estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the law will cut the deficit.

In February, the CBO said the law would cost $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, but said that it would reduce the deficit through measures to raise revenue within the bill, including new fees on drug companies and savings from lower Medicare reimbursement rates.

In her interview, Pelosi also jabbed at lawmakers who have argued the best way to reduce the deficit is through cutting federal spending.

"So those investments are important. So when we turned away — if you want to call frugality, we're wise about how we spend, OK," Pelosi said. "If you want to, austerity, cut the public role, that does nothing except hurt the deficit.”


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