50 billion smiles for Obama supporters

CBO finds more health reform costs will be even less than expected

ACA removes lifetime health insurance limits

Already a deficit reducer, the estimates for the Affordable Care Act have dropped another $50 billion which should give supporters of the President even more reasons to smile.

More good news for health care reform. The Congressional Budget Office – that nonpartisan referee that scores the financial impact of legislation – now says its revised figures show the 10-year cost of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be $50 billion less than it estimated just a year ago.

Considering that health reform was already expected to reduce the federal deficit, these new savings are just piling “good on good.”

Ah, the signs of Spring! This new news comes shortly after recent reports showing the health care cost curve bending down dramatically. Increases in health costs slowed to 4.4 percent in 2011 – about half what they were just five years earlier.

Opponents of the President expected that calls to repeal the ACA would grease their wheels on the road to the White House. But the steady phase-in of reforms provided by the ACA is making the legislation much more popular, and will make it much harder for the opponents of reform to run against it. For consumers, it’s really quite simple: the more you live with the ACA’s reforms, the more you’re going to like them.

Soon, progressives are going to have to wake up and realize that the reforms provided by the ACA are much better than they thought. On the flip side, conservatives will eventually have to admit that they are not as “bad” as they are portraying the reforms in election-year rhetoric. What they deride as “Obamacare” is actually a free-market approach to health insurance, which can create 50 distinct state solutions if they will just put down their swords and work it. It won’t happen between now and November 6, but hey – we can wait.

No doubt, 50 years from now, the ACA will be as loved as Social Security and Medicare are today. Heck, it may take only 10 years or fewer. But for now, I’ll be satisfied with it being neutralized as an election issue and allowed to fully blossom over the next few years.

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