Why the CBO Score Is Incorrect About the Senate AHCA

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The health care bill is currently being reviewed by the Senate and some Republicans have already come out against it. Unlike in the House of Representatives the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan office that keeps “score” for the legislation, released their score for the health care bill prior to a vote. While liberals tout the CBO score as paramount they fail to take into consideration a few key points.

A key part of the Republican health care bill is the removal of the individual mandate. This requires that everyone purchase health insurance or else they will receive a hefty financial fine. Thus, any health care bill that gets rid of the individual mandate, which the Republican health care bill does, will look like millions of people are losing health insurance under the CBO score. Because the CBO score counts those people as uninsured despite the fact they are simply choosing not to get healthcare because they aren’t mandated to anymore.

In the latest version of the Senate healthcare bill, the CBO estimated that over a period of 10 years that 49 million people would be uninsured which is a 22 million person increase from the previously reported score for the House of Representatives health care bill. A substantial amount of those people in that number will choose not to purchase insurance yet are being counted as uninsured.

Approximately 15 million people are expected to drop coverage because they aren’t mandated to under the latest CBO score.

Thus, the narrative that this health care bill will make 23 million people lose their insurance is false and incorrect and it perpetuates a fraudulent narrative. In reality, Democrats are forcing Americans to purchase health insurance when they don’t always want to. Because of the marginal tax penalty, many are opting out of insurance because of how costly it is and instead are choosing to pay the penalty. Obamacare is a failure for the young and healthy who are choosing to pay the penalty instead of gorge themselves of thousands upon thousands for coverage they don’t need.

Avik Roy has noted that confidence in the CBO score has diminished over time because they have continuously overestimated the number of American citizens who want to enroll in Obamacare. Back in 2010 the CBO estimated that around 21 million would sign up under Obamacare when in reality it was closer to 10 million. Enrollment is stagnating and that is for a reason. Obamacare is failing.

Another falsehood perpetuated by the mainstream media is that 5 million will be kicked off of Medicaid once the individual mandate is repealed however Medicaid is almost entirely free for those enrolled which makes no sense because the CBO is effectively saying that 5 million people will choose to be uninsured as opposed to taking free government insurance. That literally makes no sense.

One Obama era Obamacare advocate has noted that the individual mandate is a failure. Josh Gruber wrote in a 2016 an article for the New England Journal of Medicine the following,

“When we assessed the mandate’s detailed provisions, which include income-based penalties for lacking coverage and various specific exemptions from those penalties, we did not find that overall coverage rates responded to these aspects of the law.”

Paul Starr of Princeton University wrote an article for The New Republic and pointed out how speculative the CBO score is saying,

“While the Affordable Care Act was being crafted, the CBO effectively shut down debate about the mandate by estimating high compliance with it and dire effects from other options. Perhaps, as a result, Congress didn’t consider alternatives that might have worked—and might still.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has spoken out about the CBO score and its incorrect forecasting, telling reporters the following at a press conference,

“What they’re basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want, then they won’t buy it. So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan, it’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want. We were elected to solve people’s problems, to improve people’s lives. Fixing health care is a big part of that, but it also means we’ve got to move on to these other issues.

I think the key is don’t get distracted — what we do in Congress is we’re not distracted by other issues. We’re focused on doing our jobs. Most of the media wants to focus on the investigations, those are important, those are getting done, those don’t incapacitate us.”

The biggest impediment to passing the health care bill is not the substance of the bill itself but the negative publicity perpetuated by the mainstream liberal media concerning the CBO score. The party is literally fighting flat out lies. Because the CBO always evaluates every bill the party will always have to combat the media headlines concerning incorrect CBO scores.

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