Congress' scorekeeper is off the mark on the GOP's health care bill.
This week, the Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimate of the House Republicans' American Health Care Act. CBO concluded that the proposal would reduce deficits by $337 billion over the next decade, but would result in an increase in the uninsured of 14 million people in 2018 and 24 million in 2026 when compared to current law.
CBO has a poor record of predicting coverage. In 2013 CBO predicted that 24 million people would be on the Obamacare exchanges, that law's health insurance marketplaces, in 2017. This year, 9.5 million are enrolled.
CBO's new estimate neglects the behavioral effects that would result from the Republican plan. By dismantling Obamacare, insurance companies would be able to offer a wider variety of plans and people would be more enthusiastic about buying them. CBO states that average premiums would decline after 2020, and this would lead to more enrollment.
Those who recall the outrage over canceled plans after passage of the Affordable Care Act, and the fury over the increased premiums over the past two years, will realize that insurance companies are not being permitted to offer plans that people want to buy. Giving them that ability again will increase coverage.
Under Obamacare, insurance companies are limited in what plans they can offer....
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