Report: CBO’s influential Obamacare estimates were ridiculously inaccurate

Report: CBO’s influential Obamacare estimates were ridiculously inaccurate

[Ed. – Klein points out that this was a matter of overt emphasis as much as of inaccurate forecasting. Numbers closer to the eventual reality were offered in obscure footnotes.]

CBO estimates about the importance of an individual mandate to a national healthcare scheme prodded President Barack Obama into including the unpopular provision into the law in the first place. The mandate projections also played a key role in President Trump’s two major legislative initiatives. The fact that the CBO assumed 14 million could lose coverage mainly due to the elimination of mandate penalties helped kill the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, while its later assumption that 13 million fewer insured individuals would mean less spending on subsidies from the federal government helped get the 2017 Republican tax cut across the finish line by improving the budgetary math. Yet those incredibly influential estimates now appear to have been wildly off. …

While any CBO analysis of the Republican bills was likely to project large coverage losses due to the cuts to Medicaid and subsidies, if CBO had more realistic assumptions about the mandate, the numbers would have been significantly smaller, and perhaps left more room to convince centrist Republicans to get on board.

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