WASHINGTON, D.C. - The following is a statement by Stafford-LBI area U.S. Congressman Tom MacArthur.
“The Affordable Care Act is on the brink of collapse and no bureaucratic government report can change that. While I certainly respect the work of the Congressional Budget Office and the staff there, it is important to remember how wildly inaccurate they have been on projections related to the Affordable Care Act: Their projections on enrollment in the ACA in 2016 were off by a staggering 12 million people - or 120%. For all their efforts, they are clearly not prophets. While CBO projections on enrollment numbers remain in doubt, it's clear that the MacArthur Amendment will bring down premiums and make healthcare more affordable. To me, repairing the health care system has always been about protecting the most vulnerable among us, while working to drive down costs for all other families. I know that the American Health Care Act would do this better than the Affordable Care Act does.” – Congressman Tom MacArthur
While you’re busy reading the latest CBO report crystal ball reading of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), there are few points that should be kept in mind.
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Remember, this is the same CBO that was significantly off on several projections related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
The CBO projected 22 million people would be enrolled in the exchanges in 2016. The actual number turned out to be only 10 million. This means the CBO projections overshot enrollment by an astounding 120% (Mercatus)
Medicaid expansion enrollment ended up being much higher than the CBO projected in 2010 and also much higher than CBO’s reports in 2014 and 2015. A staggering 50% more people enrolled in Medicaid in states that expanded than the CBO predicted. (Mercatus )
Additionally, Medicaid expansion spending was also much higher than the CBO anticipated. In April 2014, CBO projected that the Medicaid expansion would cost $42 billion in 2015. The actual cost was approximately $68 billion. This amount is 62% higher than the CBO projected. (Mercatus )
Clearly, the CBO’s accuracy has been less than stellar in the past.
Let’s get to the CBO’s first report on the American Health Care Act, which was wildly misrepresented by many opponents of the American Health Care Act.
CLAIM: The American Health Care Act would rip healthcare away from 24 million people.
According to the CBO report issued on March 13, 2017, “In 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.” (CBO Report). In other words, the CBO, which has regularly overstated the effect of ACA mandates, is now predicting that when the Individual Mandate is lifted, millions of people will choose to drop their insurance - not have it taken away. Big difference!
The second factor is related to Medicaid Expansion.
The AHCA does not “cut” Medicaid, but rather shifts some responsibility for future cost increases to the states, which collectively pay less than a third of Medicaid costs today and have a limited incentive to control costs through tort reform, fee for service reform and reducing drug costs - all of which are major cost drivers under state control.
Our federal government is running consistent budget deficits and our national debt is approaching $20 trillion. As a nation, we simply cannot afford to continue allowing the unchecked healthcare inflation that has come with giving the states an open checkbook.
Lastly, let’s not forget the ridiculous claim that the ACA is actually affordable.
CLAIM: The Affordable Care Act is affordable.
This week Health and Human Services found that the cost of an individual Obamacare policy has increased by an average 105 percent from 2013 to 2017 in all 39 states that have used the federal exchange. (HHS)
The average monthly premiums increased from $224 in 2013 to $476 in 2017, according to the report. The HHS official said the cost doubled in 20 of the states and tripled in three of them.