Ben Domenech reports that the CBO has been cooking the books on ♡bamaCare!!! cost projections:
Here’s a link to all of CBO’s long term outlook reports. The 2014 long-term outlook included a little-noticed section labeled “Changes in Assumptions Incorporated in the Extended Alternative Fiscal Scenario” on page 117-8 of Appendix B of its report. It reads (emphasis added):
“Under its extended alternative fiscal scenario last year, CBO assumed that lawmakers would not allow various restraints on the growth of Medicare costs and health insurance subsidies to exert their full effect after the first 10 years of the projection period. However, this year, after reassessing the uncertainties involved, CBO no longer projects whether or when those restraints might wane. Instead, for those elements of the alternative fiscal scenario, there are now no differences from the extended baseline. For both, CBO projects that growth rates for Medicare costs will move linearly over 15 years (from 2024 to 2039) to the underlying rate that the agency has projected and that the exchange subsidies will do the same. (One exception to that new approach, though, concerns Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services. This year, as in previous years, projected spending under the alternative fiscal scenario reflects the assumption that those payment rates would be held constant at current levels rather than being cut by about a quarter at the beginning of 2015, as scheduled under current law.)”
Beyond that brief mention of the change in its assumptions, there is no other discussion of the rationale behind the exchange subsidy provision. How significant was this unnoticed change in CBO’s assumptions? According to a health care aide on Capitol Hill who has closely followed the scorekeeping of the law, analysis of the CBO data suggests that over the 75-year period, this change in assumptions lowers projected spending by about $6.2 trillion.
This is a pretty big change, to say the least, particularly one for which the CBO hasn’t given any justification at all.
Since when do government agencies have to justify their work?