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Fact check for the Koch Brothers: Obamacare reduces the deficit by billions

Right-wing media are pushing an inaccurate report on Obamacare’s impact on the deficit. The report, by Charles Blahous at the Koch-funded George Mason University Mercatus Center, pushes a well-debunked claim about Obamacare. Using faulty math, Blahous—a former official of President George W. Bush’s administration—falsely declared that health reform “clearly” increases the deficit by $340 billion.

The facts are clear. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly noted, the Affordable Care Act effectively reduces the deficit by billions.

But Blahous claims that the CBO is “double counting,” an argument that has been called a “straightforwardly wrong and dishonest” one. As the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities points out, “claims that the Medicare savings in the ACA have somehow been ‘double counted’ are without merit” because, “under longstanding federal budget and accounting rules,” changes in Medicare trust fund affect both the outlooks for the budget and the trust fund.

Fact-check organizations also note that the “double counting” argument is without merit. Noting that the CBO does in fact provide the truest estimate, fact-checkers have declared that “the simple fact remains that the savings will reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years.”

The reality is that Blahous’s argument reflects more of partisan politics than the impartial facts. George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, where Blahous is a senior fellow, was launched in 1997 by Charles Koch, one of the Big Oil barons who is dedicating at least $40 million of his own money—and has helped collect $100 million in pledges—to defeat President Obama. Not only did the Koch family foundations contribute nearly $30 million to “set up” and sustain the Mercatus Center, Charles Koch is currently a member of its Board of Directors. The founder of the Mercatus Center, Richard Fink, actually headed the Koch Industries’ lobbying operation in Washington, D.C., and is currently the president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Political partisanship cannot dictate the facts, and the facts are clear—Obamacare reduces the deficit, plain and simple.