Aiming to erode public trust in the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office ahead of its report this week expected to show that the GOP's Obamacare repeal bill will cause millions of people to lose their health insurance, Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials are rewriting the history of the CBO's analysis of the Affordable Care Act.
"If the CBO was right about Obamacare to begin with, there’d be 8 million more people on Obamacare today than there actually are," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told ABC on Sunday. "So I love the folks at the CBO, they work really hard, they do, but sometimes we ask them to do stuff they’re not capable of doing."
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price piled on. "CBO has been very adept in not providing appropriate coverage statistics," he said.
But in interviews with TPM, budget experts – including the CBO director during the conception and implementation of Obamacare – paint a very different picture.
They argue that the office's projections of how many total people would gain coverage under Obamacare and of the average cost of health insurance premiums turned out to be quite close to the eventual reality. The office missed the mark in some areas, they said, due to unpredictable developments like the Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to refuse to expand Medicaid.
"The CBO's predictions were not as accurate as we would have liked, but they were more accurate than the uninformed guesses of a lot of people at the time, and more accurate than the informed guesses of many other organizations," Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the CBO from 2009 to 2015, told TPM. "I wish we had done better, but I am proud of what we did."
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