Aiming to erode public trust in the Congressional Budget Office ahead of its report this week expected to show that the GOP's Obamacare repeal bill will cause millions of people to lose their health insurance, Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials are rewriting the history of the CBO's analysis of the Affordable Care Act.
"They were way, way off last time in every aspect of how they scored and projected Obamacare," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters. "If you look at the number of people they projected would be on Obamacare, they were off by millions."
In interviews with TPM, budget experts – including the CBO director during the conception and implementation of Obamacare – paint a very different picture. They argue that the office's projections of how many total people would gain coverage under Obamacare and of the average cost of health insurance premiums turned out to be quite close to the eventual reality. The office missed the mark in some areas, they said, due to unpredictable developments like the Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to refuse to expand Medicaid.
"The CBO's predictions were not as accurate as we would have liked, but they were more accurate than the uninformed guesses of a lot of people at the time, and more accurate than the informed guesses of many other organizations," Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the CBO from 2009 to 2015, told TPM. "I wish we had done better, but I am proud of what we did."