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Has the CBO Ever Gotten It Right?

By  |  March 14, 2017, 05:00am  |  @ewerickson

Much is being made about the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates of swampcare, the Republican alterations to Obamacare. The CBO claims that upwards of 24 million Americans will lose healthcare insurance, but that the plan will also reduce the deficit. What is going unnoticed is that many of those who would lose insurance are people who would voluntarily surrender it. They never wanted it and only got it because of the individual mandate.

It is worth pointing out that the CBO has a worse track record than pollsters and pundits covering the 2016 Presidential election. The CBO got its estimates wrong about Obamacare when congress originally passed it. The legislation has cost far more than the CBO estimated it would. In fact, if we go all the way back to Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and his expansion of Medicaid, the CBO got that wrong too. The CBO estimates collided with real world numbers and were off by hundreds of billions of dollars.

There is no reason to think the CBO is suddenly getting its data right, but given how far off they often estimate things, we should expect less deficit reduction and more people losing insurance.