The Congressional Budget Office tells us that Paul Ryan’s health care bill, the American Health Care Act, will uninsure 24 million people. That’s right. No keeping your doctor. No keeping your health care plan. Just plain nothing. But there is a silver lining. The CBO estimated a deficit reduction of 337 billion dollars.
So is that deficit reduction good news? Not really. Consider these stats from Wiki.
On November 7, 2016, debt held by the public was $14.3 trillion or about 76% of the previous 12 months of GDP. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.4 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $19.8 trillion or about 106% of the previous 12 months of GDP. $6.2 trillion or approximately 45% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were Japan and China at about $1.09 trillion for Japan and $1.06 trillion for China as of December 2016.
So what we have in Ryan’s plan is a deficit reduction in the billions compared to a national debt in the trillions. (For Trumpists who seem to be perpetually arithmetically challenged, trillion is more than billion.) What would it take to make a real dent in the deficit?
First we calculate the per-person budget reduction achieved by eliminating their health insurance. That would be 337 billion divided by 24 million. It comes to $14, 041.67 per person. Next we model the effect of kicking all US citizens off of whatever health care plan they have. The US population was 325,778,172 (as of 7:35 AM Mountain time, March 15, 2017). That would be 325,778,172 times $14,041.67. The result is awesome: $4,574,469,584,427. Now that number, approaching 5 trillion dollars, is serious deficit reduction.
So Ryan and the rest of the GOP shouldn’t mess around with repeal of just the ACA. They should pass a law that achieves that 5 trillion dollar goal. Ryan can have my proposed title for free: the American Freedom from Care Act.