7 Times The Congressional Budget Office Got Its Forecasts Dramatically Wrong

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s ruling on Trumpcare – which the Daily Wire's Robert Kraychik summarized and analyzed here – has been predictably paraded by the left-wing media as indicative of the harm caused by repealing Obamacare, as The Federalist's Sean Davis highlighted on Twitter.

Two things can be true: Trumpcare is terrible, but the CBO's ruling was flawed, as expected, since it has a poor track record.

Here are seven times where the CBO had dramatically wrong forecasts.

1. Obamacare's enrollment numbers for the exchanges.

Roy elaborates further on the chart in Forbes:

As the below chart shows, in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was passed, CBO estimated that 21 million people would enroll in the ACA exchanges in 2016. The actual number was closer to 10 million. Even now, CBO believes that 18 to 19 million people will soon be enrolled in the exchanges, when in fact enrollment is degrading under current law, and will likely end up stabilizing at about 10 to 11 million.

2. Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. According to Forbes, the CBO predicted that Medicaid's enrollees would cost around $4,200 per enrollee in 2015, putting the total cost of Medicaid expansion in 2015 at $42 billion; the enrollees actually cost around $6,366, putting the total cost of Medicaid expansion in 2015 at $68 billion.

The CBO's inaccurate forecast on the cost of Medicaid expansion was due to their predictions constantly understating the amount of new Medicaid enrollees:

3. Economic growth under Obamacare. The CBO predicted 2010 to 2016 would see an average real GDP growth of 3.2 percent; in actuality, it was a meager 2.1 percent. Here is a chart that puts into context how sluggish that 2.1 percent number is:

4. Publicly-held debt as a percentage of GDP in a ten-year timeframe. The CBO predicted in 2002 that by 2012, the publicly-held debt would be only 7.4 percent of GDP. The CBO was off by nearly a decimal point – publicly-held debt was 72.8 percent of GDP in 2012. Their forecast was just a little bit wrong.

5. The cost of farm bills. The CBO has a bad habit of claiming that farm bills save money when they actually worsen the country's debt, as this chart from the George Mason University's Mercatus Center shows:

The 2013 farm bill was ultimately defeated.

6. Projecting a surplus when there was really a deficit. In his book America's Fiscal Constitution: Its Triumph and Collapse, former Houston Mayor Bill White, a Democrat, wrote that in 1998, the CBO projected a surplus that never eventuated. They also forecast in 2000 that there would be a surplus until 2010; yet again, there was never a surplus in that time frame. White cited a 2000 Federal Reserve analysis that concluded, "there is no relationship between the CBO's projections and the actual surplus/deficit."

7. The cost of Medicaid Disproportionate Shared Hospital (DSH) payments. The CBO forecast in 1987 the cost of Medicaid DSH – which pays state hospitals for taking in Medicaid and uninsured patients – would cost below a billion dollars in 1992; the real cost was $17 billion that year.

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