White House: Health Care Reform Would Cut Deficit by Third

White House budget director Peter Orszag takes to his blog to brag a bit about health care reform:

Last year, CBO put the 75-year fiscal gap at about 8 percent of GDP; this assumes current policies -- such as the 2001/2003 tax cuts, relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax, and a fix to the Medicare physician payment system -- are continued. The figures above suggest that if fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act would reduce this by about one quarter to one third, or to roughly 5 to 6 percent of GDP.

Hooray! On the other hand, if we stopped patching the Alternative Minimum Tax, we would shave $480 billion -- or three percent of GDP -- off our fiscal gap. This is not an argument against the ACA, but "if fully implemented" is a contentious phrase.

Increase your short-term procrastination by 3 to 4 percent by reading the full story at the OMB blog.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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