Thomas Gallatin / July 24, 2017

The CBO’s Dubious Estimates on GOP Health Reform

The Congressional Budget Office uses ObamaCare’s individual mandate to manipulate the data.

Upwards of 22 million fewer Americans will have health insurance under either of the GOP’s House or Senate ObamaCare replacement plans, says the Congressional Budget Office. Arguably the largest hurdle Republicans have faced in their attempt to repeal and replace the onerous law has been concerns over significantly increasing the number of uninsured. And it has been the CBO’s projections that have scared moderate Republicans away from approving of a repeal and replacement plan. But the CBO is getting it wrong.

Why are the CBO’s projections so dire? The short answer is the ObamaCare mandate. As Forbes reports, “The CBO’s model is designed to treat any mandate-repealing GOP bill as covering fewer people than Obamacare.” Remove the mandate from the equation and 73% of the CBO’s projected number of those who would lose insurance under either of the GOP’s plans evaporates. In other words, the vast majority of those who would “lose” insurance under either of the Republican plans would do so because of individual choice, not a lack of availability.

The CBO’s dirty little secret is that it has conveniently glossed over this profoundly significant detail when producing its projections. Furthermore, the CBO has continued to use its own inflated projection estimates on the number of those insured under ObamaCare when it calculates the numbers who would not be insured under the GOP plans. The resulting bottom line is this: Without the mandate, ObamaCare would have insured no more Americans than would either of the Republicans’ plans.

Forbes hits the nail on the head: “So, the choice for Republicans is this. Do you support repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, or preserving it? If you support repealing it — whatever other policy details you prefer — the CBO is going to generate misleading headlines about 16 million people being ‘kicked off’ their insurance.” The CBO is committed to the mandate, and that is the problem.

Republicans need to be preaching Liberty from government control and freedom of the individual to decide what works best. And they have an excellent opportunity to show just how oppressive and expensive life gets when the government dictates for Americans what they must buy, and how much of it they must purchase. Instead, they’re succumbing to the skewed statistics of the pencil-pushers at the CBO.

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