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February 26, 2014 1:16 PM CBO Drops A Boulder on House GOP Employer Mandate Bill

By Ed Kilgore

Remember all the way back to last week, when Republicans everywhere were crowing over a CBO report suggesting that a minimum wage hike would “kill” jobs? And before that, remember the equally loud Republican caws over a CBO report predicting that Obamacare would reduce workforce participation levels?

It’s unlikely we’ll hear much praise for the latest CBO report (conducted with the Joint Committee on Taxation), estimating that a House GOP proposal aimed at “relief” (by increasing the number of weekly hours required to trigger the mandate from 30 to 40 hours) from the employer health insurance mandate in Obamacare would:

* Reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage—by about 1 million people;
* Increase the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or health insurance exchanges—by between 500,000 and 1 million people; and
* Increase the number of uninsured—by less than 500,000 people
As a consequence of the changes in penalties and in people’s sources of insurance coverage, CBO and JCT estimate that enacting H.R. 2575 would increase budget deficits by $25.4 billion over the 2015-2019 period and by $73.7 billion over the 2015-2024 period. The 2015-2024 total is the net of an increase of $83.0 billion in on-budget costs and $9.3 billion in off-budget savings (the latter attributable to increased revenues). Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.

Ouchy ouchy. No conservative love for CBO this week, I suspect.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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