The CBO: The Government's Favorite Psychic
Its estimates on the GOP health care law: lower costs, but more uninsured.
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the projected impact of the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA). The CBO estimated the law would result in a reduction of budget deficits by some $337 billion over a 10-year period, as well as up to 24 million more uninsured Americans by 2026. House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted that the report would estimate an increased number of uninsured. He said Sunday, “The one thing I’m certain will happen is CBO will say, ‘Well, gosh. Not as many people will get coverage.’ You know why? Because this isn’t a government mandate. This is not the government that makes you buy what we say you should buy, and therefore the government thinks you’re all going to buy it.”
It’s always easier to insure more people by forcing them to buy insurance.
Barack Obama’s goal with the Affordable Care Act was not affordable health care, but socialized health care — the first step toward a single-payer system similar to those found in many European nations. Republicans are in the unenviable position of solving a difficult two-part problem. The first task is repealing and dismantling ObamaCare, while the second is to find an effective solution to skyrocketing health care costs.
The split within the GOP falls over determining which problem is the greater issue. For conservatives like Rand Paul, the primary issue is one of freedom and a principled fight against encroaching socialism. For more moderate Republicans like Paul Ryan, dealing with rising health care costs takes precedence. Both sides agree that ObamaCare is a disaster.
Predictably, the Leftmedia has taken the CBO report and used it as another brush by which to paint its favorite strawman caricature of heartless Republicans. Never mind that the average premiums under ObamaCare this year will increase by 25% with continued increases in subsequent years, whereas the projections for the Republicans’ plan show an initial premium increase of between 15% and 20% followed by a steady decline over the next decade.
And one more point of emphasis: Remember those past CBO projections for ObamaCare enrollment and cost numbers? Prior to the Affordable Care Act’s passage, the CBO predicted that the law would cut the deficit by upwards of $1 trillion in 20 years. Now, it’s admitted that ObamaCare will instead only add to the deficit. And those 30 million more Americans insured by 2017? The actual number is 14 million. So don’t take CBO projections as gospel truth. Its estimates have been way off the mark with ObamaCare. Why should its latest projections on the AHCA now be trusted?