The Corner

Health Care and the Deficit

Republicans can in good conscience keep making the argument that Baucuscare will increase the deficit, since there is every reason to believe that it will. The CBO doesn’t even vouch for it long-term, and its short-term assumptions are unrealistic, as it all but concedes. But the CBO score does make the deficit argument politically trickier.

Which is probably a good thing. I’ve never been convinced that people actually care all that much about deficits. To the extent that the deficit argument against the bill moved people, I suspect it was as a stand-in for the argument that it was too expensive. It still is: The fact that some of its costs have been pushed on to the private sector doesn’t make it any better. My advice for critics of Obamacare: Spend less time talking about its impact on the federal budget, and more time on its impact on family budgets.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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