Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), best known as Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) sidekick, just can’t let go of his hurt feelings over the reliably disastrous scores the Congressional Budget Office gave the various iterations of Trumpcare. He’s taking his war on nonpartisan, reality-based economic projections to the Senate floor, and op-ed pages. The CBO, he insists, was off “by more than 100 percent” in its projections of coverage on the health insurance exchanges. He also said it was off “by around 100 percent” on its Medicaid enrollment projections. But if you click on the links Lee is providing in his op-ed, you’ll notice that he’s linking to the 2010 estimates from the CBO—the ones before the Supreme Court decided that not every state had to participate in the Medicaid exchanges. But in reality, when you consider the CBO’s subsequent analyses:
The CBO actually nailed the overall impact of the law on
uninsured pretty closely. It predicted a big drop in the percentage of people under age 65 who would lack insurance, and that turned out to be the case. CBO projected that in 2016 that nonelderly rate would fall to 11%, and the latest figure put the actual rate at 10.3%.
He ignores the CBO’s revised projections in 2012 after the court ruling and subsequent projections.
That’s just the beginning of Lee’s astoundingly dishonest retelling of this history. “Now the CBO wants us to believe,” he whines, “based on the same models, that just repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, without a single dime’s worth of cuts to Medicaid, would cause more than 7 million people to abandon their Medicaid coverage.” Actually, the CBO says no such thing. A 2016 analysis of repeal-only does find that 7 million fewer people would be on Medicaid by 2026 not because they are “abandoning” Medicaid coverage, but because 7 million people who would be eligible for Medicaid wouldn’t sign up because there wouldn’t be the prompt of the individual mandate.
But Lee keeps on lying about that to justify his jihad against the agency and his new legislation, “the CBO Show Your Work Act of 2017,” which would “require the CBO to publish its data, models, and all details of computation used in its cost analysis and scoring.”