Krugman calls out Times contributor Steve Rattner as a concern troll for his economic distortion of the “true” cost of the Affordable Care Act. (You may have heard the wingnuts parroting the so-called “study” on which this horse hockey is based all last week?) Krugman doesn’t pull any punches:
The way to cut through the whole double-counting nonsense is to ask the following: did the ACA improve or worsen the fiscal outlook compared with what it would have been without the legislation? The answer is that it improved the outlook – the additional revenues plus cost savings outweigh the cost of the subsidies. End of story. Don’t take my word for it — that’s what Robert Reischauer, the good trustee, says.
So what about the alleged double-counting? That exists only in the minds of the trolls. The Obama administration has never claimed that a dollar of savings somehow counts twice.
Does it matter that some of the savings accrue to the Medicare trust fund? Not for the unified budget. And as it turns out, not for the non-trust-fund budget either, because everyone understands that Medicare will be supported out of general revenues when the trust fund is exhausted, so any savings on trust fund spending eventually redound to general revenues.
There’s nothing here, except in the tortured word games of people who are desperately looking for a way to make trouble.