Forbes: 73% of CBO's 'Lost Coverage' Estimate Is From Repeal of Individual Mandate
Forbes' opinion editor Avik Roy is shredding the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's evaluation of the Republican healthcare bill.
His comments come in a column for Forbes analyzing the CBO reports on the GOP bill.
"If you've read a newspaper or watched cable news in the last month, you've probably seen someone say that the Senate GOP healthcare bill would kick 22 million Americans off of their health insurance," he said. "But it's not true.
"For years, the CBO has been convinced — despite real-world experience to the contrary— that Obamacare's individual mandate is the biggest reason why that law has increased the number of Americans with health insurance."
He added: "The idea that America should be forced by the government to buy a private product, merely for the offense of being alive, is seen by all conservatives as a constitutional injury.
"And there's a more fundamental question: if Obamacare's insurance is so wonderful, why do millions of Americans need to be forced to buy it? By definition, you haven't been 'kicked off' your insurance if the only reason you're no longer buying it, is that the government has stopped fining you.
"Democrats have seized on this number to stoke fears about the bill's impact," he added, insisting the vast majority of those coverage "losses" occur because the GOP bill repeals Obamacare's individual mandate.
"Why?" he said. "It's 'primarily because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated.
"OK. But here's the curiosity. The CBO has refused to disclose the specific, year-by-year impact of that thing that it says is the primary reason that people will go uninsured in 2018 and beyond.
"This is a critical omission."
He noted CBO claims that repealing the mandate would lead to 15 million fewer insured residents in 2018 and 16 million fewer by 2026.
He said, however, CBO did not publish those estimated.
Roy maintained the 16 million represents nearly three-fourths of the CBO's estimate of the coverage difference between the GOP bills and Obamacare in 2026."