12:17 PM, Nov 16, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Two well-placed sources on Capitol Hill say that the Congressional Budget Office effectively used Jonathan Gruber’s model to score Obamacare. That model favors government mandates over market competition and claims that essentially the only way to achieve a large reduction in the number of uninsured Americans is to impose an Obamacare-like individual mandate. Moreover, because the model that the CBO used in scoring Obamacare is the same one it uses today, any alternative to Obamacare that doesn’t include an individual mandate — which is to say, any conservative alternative — would be scored by the CBO as falling well short, in terms of coverage numbers, of Gruber’s preferred legislation.
While the CBO’s model isn’t exactly the same as Gruber’s, one well-placed congressional source says that the two models are “eerily similar.” That source adds that, not only was Gruber one of the CBO’s academic advisors at the time that Obamacare was scored — a claim echoed by the Huffington Post — but two of Gruber’s graduate student protégés worked on the scoring.
Gruber himself describes his model and the CBO’s as being “very similar.” In early 2011, he wrote:
“CBO and I both estimate [the] that Affordable Care Act will cover about 60 percent of those who would be uninsured absent the law. We both find that there would be a very modest reduction of employer-sponsored insurance, that premiums in the nongroup insurance market for the same quality product would fall, and that there would not be much effect on premiums in the employer-provided insurance market.”
For the record, before Obamacare passed, the CBO predicted that the president’s signature legislation would have led to 19 million more people having health insurance by 2014 (see Table 4). In reality, Obamacare has maybe hit half that number — and many if not most of Obamacare’s newly insured have simply been dumped into Medicaid.
While failing to disclose it at the time, the Obama administration paid Gruber almost $400,000 in taxpayers’ money because, in the Department of Health and Human Services’ words, he had “developed a proprietary statistically sophisticated micro-simulation model” to which the Obama administration wanted access. Noting how “similar” Gruber’s model is to the CBO’s, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler writes that, with access to Gruber’s model, the Obama administration “could predict with reasonable certainty how CBO would score legislation.” Kessler adds, “Given that legislation in Washington often falls or rises depending on the CBO score, that made this model a very powerful tool for administration officials.”
Given the importance of Gruber’s role, why wasn’t it made more transparent? Well, as Gruber might say — and has said — “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” especially given “the stupidity of the American voter.”
Gruber had influence over the CBO, the White House, and Congress alike. Indeed, it seems that it might be hard to overestimate his importance; his role was central to the efforts of President Obama and his Democratic allies to shove Obamacare down an unwilling citizenry’s throat.
12:34 PM, Jul 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
We have been paying attention to other things so it probably slipped out minds. But as Bernie Becker of the The Hill reports, the defect hasn’t gone away (gone down, some, but not away) and:
10:05 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In March 2010, Obamacare was about to be voted upon by the House of Representatives, and the Democrats were in the process of deciding whether to ignore public opinion at their peril. At that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion over a decade and would reduce the number of uninsured people by 19 million as of 2014 (with a reduction of 1 million prior to 2014 and 18 million in 2014 alone). Unimpressed, the American people overwhelmingly opposed the intrusive overhaul — with 20 of 21 polls taken that month showing it to be unpopular, most of them by double digits. The Democrats willfully passed Obamacare anyway and lost 63 House seats that November.
Five phony success stories.May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By JAY COST
With enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges now closed, Democrats and their friends in the media are ebullient. Obamacare is an enormous success, they say, and conservatives have been humiliated. On closer inspection, however, things seem decidedly less bullish for President Obama’s signature achievement.
Among the many exaggerations and inaccuracies the law’s defenders are touting, five stand out.
The corrupting effects of Obamacare.Feb 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 23 • By JAY COST
On February 4 the Congressional Budget Office dropped a bombshell. Analysts there found that Obamacare’s structure will create an enormous implicit tax on work, such that people on the lower end of the economic scale will have an incentive to quit their jobs or scale back to part time to maximize their premium subsidies. In an earlier study, CBO had estimated that this disincentive to work would destroy the equivalent of less than a million full-time jobs. Now, it projects that an equivalent of more than 2 million jobs will be lost as people voluntarily leave the workforce.
Between 2017-2024.5:01 PM, Feb 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
New analysis by the minority-side of the Senate Budget Committee finds that Obamacare will reduce compensation by more than $1 trillion between 2017-2024. Analysts in that office have produced this chart to show the lost compensation by year:
As the chart shows, the lost compensation increases every year from an estimated $108 billion in 2017 to an estimated $147 billion 2024. The analysis is based on numbers provided in a recent Congressional Budget Office report on Obamacare.
Hosted by Michael Graham3:15 PM, Feb 5, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on why the Obamacare jobs numbers are trouble for Democrats.
10:49 AM, Feb 5, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Remember back when the Democrats tried to sell Obamacare to a skeptical citizenry as health care “reform” that would cost “only” $848 billion—far less than a trillion—over a decade? Indeed, that was the alleged 10-year gross cost of Obamacare’s coverage provisions, according to the Congressional Budget Office (see Table 3), when Harry Reid, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Al Franken, Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Begich, Mark Warner, and the rest of the Democrats rammed President Obama’s signature legislation through the Senate on Christmas Eve without a single Republican vote. That 12-digit price-tag was widely cited by the New York Times and other sympathetic outlets, who treated it as gospel, even as conservatives observed that it was clearly a sham number.
4:29 PM, Feb 4, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Congressional Budget Office has come out with a report on the effects of Affordable Care Act on the U.S. economy. As Erik Wasson of The Hill reports, the findings are not pretty.
The folly of OMB’s annual cost-benefit report.Aug 19, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 46 • By IKE BRANNON and SAM BATKINS
Every spring the Office of Management and Budget releases the president’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. While Congress invites senior administration figures to testify before various committees, and the media pore through the document to elucidate the administration’s priorities, by the end of a week everyone agrees that most of what’s in the budget has little chance of becoming enacted. Afterwards, Congress goes through the motions of passing a budget of its own, with scant regard to what the White House has proposed.
10:33 AM, Jun 4, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A big part of Obamacare is its massive expansion of Medicaid. Fortunately, this expansion can’t happen in most states without Republicans freely choosing to make it happen. Unfortunately, far too many Republican governors seem to be confused about the distinction between repealing Obamacare and implementing it.
6:48 AM, Jun 4, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
On Monday, CNBC reported on a new survey that found that two-thirds of Americans currently without health insurance don't know if they will purchase coverage by the deadline, the first day of 2014. The survey was released by InsuranceQuotes.com, a company that offers comparison shopping for insurance, similar to the "marketplaces" envisioned by Obamacare. The results of the survey surprised Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at the company:
4:45 PM, Sep 2, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
President Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, said today on Fox News Sunday that, under Obama, we've had "29 straight months of job growth." Yet, according to the federal government's own figures, 29 months ago, 58.5 percent of Americans were employed. Today, only 58.4 percent of Americans are employed. In other words, any job growth over the past 29 months hasn't even kept up with population growth.