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The CBO Health Care Score Could Be Wrong, But It’s Not Biased

(WIRED) , March 14, 2017 — THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET Office just released its much-awaited report analyzing the possible effects of the American Health Care Act, the GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The verdict is a doozy. Twenty-four million fewer Americans would have health insurance by 2026, according to the CBO, with 14 million of them losing coverage in 2018. While, yes, the report also says the GOP’s health care plan would save the government $337 billion within the decade, it underlines a potentially stark contradiction with President Trump’s prior promise that the bill would “provide insurance for everybody.”

The report spurred quick responses from all sides of the political spectrum, with Democrats decrying the results and Republicans questioning the CBO’s methodology. (Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price complained that the CBO did not take into account potential future legislation, which sounds like a financial planner not incorporating potential scratch-off lottery wins in a retirement portfolio.) What few have questioned, though, is the CBO’s integrity. And given the political climate, this seems downright remarkable.

In fact, since its inception four decades ago, the CBO has occupied a rarified space in which the objectivity of data reigns. Call it wrong if you must—and sometimes, sure, CBO is wrong—but don’t call it partisan. How does it ensure that entrenched neutrality? A culture designed not just to encourage it, but demand it.

Source: The CBO Health Care Score Could Be Wrong, But It’s Not Biased | WIRED