House Republicans poised to send a bill repealing most of thePatient Protection and Affordable CareAct to President Obama got some good news from theCongressional Budget Office, which, in contrast to a projection itreleased in June, now projects that undoing major parts of thelandmark health law would reduce the federal deficit by more thanhalf a trillion dollars over the next decade.

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The nonpartisan agency had already projected budget savings of$474 billion last month, shortly after the Senate passed the bill,which achieves most of its budgetary effect by phasing outsubsidies for the individual insurance exchanges as well as thefederally-funded expansion of Medicaid.

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Since that Dec. 3 estimate, the CBO has revised its estimate,projecting that the bill’s implementation would reduce the deficitby an additional $42 billion over the next decade, for a total of$516 billion.

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And yet, it was only six months ago that the same agencyestimated that repealing PPACA would increase the deficitby $353 billion over the next decade.

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It similarly projected before the law’s passage in 2010 that itwould decrease the deficit, and affirmed that estimate again shortlybefore the law was implemented in 2013.

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Sigh. It’s hard to figure these number guys out.

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Of course, the bill will be vetoed by President Obama, andneither House of Congress has the two-thirds majority necessary tooverride the veto. Thus, projecting the fiscal impact of thelegislation is a largely academic exercise.

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Showing that scrapping Obamacare would reduce the deficit wasan absolute must for Republicans seeking to get a repeal bill onthe president’s desk.

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Not only does it go well with their political message that thehealth law is a fiscal disaster, but Senate rules dictate that onlylegislation that reduces the deficit can get approved through the“reconciliation process,” in which a bill cannot be blocked by afilibuster.

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While the CBO estimates that the legislation itself would onlyreduce federal spending by $282 billion over ten years, it projectsthat additional economic variables that result from thelegislation’s passage would reduce the deficit by an additional$193 billion.

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