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Letter: Hales' deficit estimate is wrong

Published January 12, 2014 10:47 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brian C. Hales' Jan. 5 article on the sustainability of the potential expansion of Medicaid in Utah contained a significant error ("Is expanded Medicaid financially sustainable?" Opinion, Jan. 4).

He suggested that Utah cannot afford to allow the expansion of Medicaid as outlined in the Affordable Care Act and argues that the federal government may well walk away in the future from its commitment to foot virtually all of the cost of that expansion for the next several years because of a huge federal budget deficit.

However, while he indicates that the federal budget deficit is $1.5 trillion (revenue estimated at $2.5 trillion while expenses are $4 trillion), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the deficit is quickly dropping.

It was $680 billion in the fiscal year 2013 (ending Sept, 2013) — less than half that cited in the article — and is projected to fall further in 2014 due to the growth in tax receipts as the economy continues to expand!

With this kind of egregious error, how can a reader trust the other numbers Dr. Hales cites as the cost to the state for covering the proposed expansion to Medicaid? And how could the Tribune allow such a misleading error to be printed in the first place?

Barbara Pence

Salt Lake City

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