Las Vegas Sun

June 26, 2017

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Sun Editorial:

Trump, GOP can’t have their cake and eat it too on AHCA

When it comes to the findings of a Congressional Budget Office report about the effects of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

In one breath, they’re touting findings by CBO analysts that put their plan in a good light. In another, they’re echoing Trump in discrediting those same analysts based on a 2012 report on effects of the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m excited about this analysis and yeah, I think they sort of overestimate the uninsured number just like they overestimated who would be insured by Obamacare,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News.

Sorry, but this doesn’t work both ways.

The CBO’s analysts are as credible as they come, so their report must be taken in its entirety. And when it’s considered in whole, as opposed to being cherry-picked, it looks rotten.

The CBO predicted that 14 million people would lose their coverage in 2018, with 10 million more following them by 2026. That’s 24 million people thrown off of insurance plans less than 10 years from now.

What’s more, by challenging claims by Trump and others that the Affordable Care Act was failing, CBO researchers poked major holes in the rationale behind the creation of the GOP plan. The analysis says subsidies included in the ACA protect most beneficiaries from higher premiums, while a combination of those subsidies and the requirement for Americans to have health insurance creates enough demand to stabilize the insurance market.

Faced with the estimate on the number of Americans who’d lose insurance, Trump and his gang have dismissed it based on a 2012 CBO study that overestimated the number of people who would receive government-subsidized health insurance through state exchanges.

No doubt, the previous report overshot the number. But it was hardly, as the White House described it, “way, way off … in every aspect.”

Analysts were almost spot-on in predicting the overall impact of the law, and the CBO actually underestimated the number of people who received coverage through expanding Medicaid.

So forget the attempts by Republican leaders to delegitimize the aspects of the new CBO study that don’t fit their narrative. Not only are they applying a double standard, they’re trying to mislead Americans into thinking the 2012 report was drastically off base when, in reality, it largely hit the mark.

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