The headline on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog last week may have startled some readers, especially anyone concerned about the deficit. “CBO says deficit problem is solved for the next 10 years,” it said.
This news was easy to miss last week amid talk of scandals involving the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, the IRS’ scrutiny of applications from the Tea Party and others for tax exempt status, and the US Justice Department’s probe of the Associated Press. And, honestly, reports from the Congressional Budget Office will almost always be less interesting than brewing scandals in Washington.
But this report is fascinating nonetheless because as writer Ezra Klein reports,
The last time the CBO estimated our future deficits was February-–just four short months ago. Back then, the CBO thought deficits were falling and health-care costs were slowing. Today, the CBO thinks deficits are falling even faster and health-care costs are slowing by even more.”
It could be that another reason this news was mostly overlooked is that critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and even many of its supporters find it hard to believe that the ACA will slow health care spending. To be sure, it will be many years before we know the effects of the ACA on health care spending but if it does slow the rising cost of care, it will be welcome news.