The Congressional Budget Office's Predictions about the Health Care Bill; the Numbers Just Don't Add Up!

Every since Monday when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released it's projections for the Senate healthcare bill, main stream media along with many on the left and right, has repeatedly quoted its prediction that 22 million Americans would lose health coverage over the next decade under the Senate's plan.  Let's take a closer look at these numbers and you be the judge.

According to the CBO's analysis, over the next 10 years the repeal-and-replace legislation would reduce the deficit by $321 billion.  That sounds good right?  Well, let's take a look a some more numbers in comparison to what we currently have with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare.

The CBO estimates that in 2018 15 million more people will be uninsured compared with the current law's estimates showing an increase to 19 million by 2020 and 22 million by 2026.

Diamond and Silk does not profess to be expert statisticians, but common sense tells us that we need to take a closer look at the current CBO projections in the midst of all the healthcare bill bashing that we are seeing from pundits who just like leaning on nice negative sound bites!!

The primary reason that the CBO is leaning on this monumental projection is rooted in the current administration's proposed elimination of the individual mandate.  In common sense terms: The current Senate Health Care Bill is proposing to do away with Obama's costly requirement for Americans to purchase health care from specific insurers or pay a penalty.

The CBO's Predictions, Faulty and Bloated

Let's take a look at some of the CBO's projections in recent years to make a fair comparison.  The CBO has made numerous projections about the components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and various health care reforms.  On several occasions, the CBO's numbers have differed by significant figures from what the purposed outcome was supposed to be.  For example, both the CBO's cost and Medicaid expansion enrollment projections have been significantly below the actual outcome seen since the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

Consider the CBO's 2010 report in with predictions of expansion in Medicaid enrollment; these figures missed the mark significantly and were revised up by a larger number in 2014, and then again in 2015 also.  The reality is that Medicaid expansion ended up being much higher than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected after the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The facts show that some where around 50-percent more people have enrolled in Medicaid in the states that expanded than the CBO had projected would.

Another noteworthy prediction is the CBO's projection that 177 million people would be insured by 2016.  Those numbers are still off by over 24 million here in 2017!

A Closer Look at the CBO's 22-23 million ballpark figure

Now here's where something smells a little fishy and it aint fish!!  In 2015, the Restoring American's Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act passed both the House and Senate, and ended up being vetoed by the president.

Interestingly, the Congressional Budget Office produced a report predicting changes in, you guessed it, the number of people who would be uninsured resulting from the full defunding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Guess how many the CBO projected would be uninsured in its 2015 report?  You got it!  The projection was that there would be 22 million additional uninsured Americans.

Once again, earlier this spring, the American Health Care Act passed in the House with the intentions to gradually defund ACA and replace it with a flat tax credit system of health care.  The bill included $375 billion in replacement funding, compared to no replacement in the bill that was proposed in 2015.  And even with a replacement funding added, the CBO's projections were that 23 million would be uninsured under the current law.

This is where the numbers just don't add up!  How does $375 billion in extra funding and a gradual repeal result in a projection that includes 1 million more people being uninsured?

And now here we go again with another report issued by the CBO yesterday on the proposed Senate healthcare bill shows a similar uninsured figure.  The Dems along with main stream media pundits have been shouting from the roof tops "22-23 million Americans will be uninsured!"

Let's not allow our ears to be tickled by "fear infused politics," designed to prevent you from looking at all the facts.  Why have'nt any one mentioned the fact that the proposed Senate bill being presented will provide $241 billion more than the house bill and $616 billion more than the 2015 bill.

Why do we keep hearing the 22-23 million uninsured figure?

Jack Salmon, Washington, D.C.-based researcher focused on federal fiscal policy, published a very informative article with The Hill that can help us understand where the CBO may be off with the numbers. In Salmon's article there was a heading entitled "Bad methodology or an obsession with the individual mandate?"  In that article the following was noted.

"It is important that we acknowledge the large degree of uncertainty, as well as key mistakes in the CBO's past projections. It would be particularly useful to know what steps the CBO has taken to prevent mistakes in the future after overestimating the effects of the single mandate and failing to properly anticipate how people would react to changes in the healthcare market.

Perhaps the CBO could inform lawmakers exactly how it has adjusted its faulty models and assumptions. A more likely explanation for the CBO’s faulty modeling may be found in its obsession with the idea that the individual mandate is forcing swathes of the population to buy coverage that they otherwise would not."

The CBO is supposed to be a non-partisan (not favoring one party over the other) entity within our political system.  The same was supposed to be true about the outlets of media used to relay facts to the American people, but we know thats not the case today.

Diamond and Silk will tell you the truth, no matter who it affects, and maybe it's time for us to see who is behind the scene inside that Congressional Budget Office.  It definitely seem like some partisan activity may be behind the scenes, flapping in the Swamp!!