Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report, or ‘score’, on the version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that recently passed in the House of Representatives. It is similar in most respects to the CBO’s score of the earlier version of the bill that never came to a vote. This time, the CBO reduced by one million its estimate of the number of Americans that it projects would lose insurance coverage relative to the status quo (Obamacare). The new estimate is just as unrealistic as the first, for the reasons discussed in an earlier post on this blog:

Sacred Cow Chips

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is still predicting strong future growth in the number of insured individuals under Obamacare, despite their past, drastic over-predictions for the exchange market and slim chances that the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid will be adopted by additional states. Now that Republican leaders have backed away from an unpopular health care plan they’d hoped would pass the House and meet the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules, it will be interesting to see how the CBO’s predictions pan out. The “decremental” forecasts it made for the erstwhile American Health Care Act (AHCA) were based on its current Obamacare “baseline”. A figure cited often by critics of the GOP plan was that 24 million fewer individuals would be insured by 2026 than under the baseline.

It was fascinating to see many supporters of the AHCA accept this “forecast” uncritically. With the AHCA’s failure, however, we’ve been given an opportunity to witness the distortion in what would have been a CBO counterfactual…

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