Trump is Wrong on Both His CBO Claims
We fact-check Trump’s claim that the CBO can’t be trusted and only 10.3 million were enrolled in ObamaCare (not the 23 million the CBO projected).
- Claim: “CBO can’t be trusted because its Obamacare predictions were wrong.“
- Fact-check: The CBO hasn’t been wrong about the ACA in general. They did, however, have to revise the numbers down as provisions like Medicaid expansion were blocked, the mandate was diminished by Trump’s order, and Rubio blocked readjustment payments.
The bottom line: Trump’s claim that the CBO’s predictions are wrong is false.
- Claim: “When #Obamacare was signed, CBO estimated that 23M would be covered in 2017. They were off by 100%. Only 10.3M people are covered.”
- Fact-check: The 10.3 million covered is referring to marketplace coverage only, the CBO was referring to total covered by all coverage provisions (back in their 2010 report, before they knew that the GOP would come along and block major coverage provisions). The CBO’s most recent 2017 projection for marketplace enrollment was 10 million. See past projections by the CBO.
The bottom line: Trump’s claim that 10.3 million are covered as opposed to the CBO’s estimate of 23 million covered by 2017 from their 2010 report is false. It is true that 10.3 million are estimated to be covered in the marketplace, but the CBO’s projections were referring to ALL coverage provisions from the marketplace, Medicaid, employer coverage, children staying on their parent’s plans, etc. (not just marketplace coverage)! Subsequent CBO reports revised the numbers as changes were made to the law.
The Facts on ObamaCare Enrollment
Generally speaking: The ACA has increasingly reduced the uninsured rate each year. Despite the ebb and flow each year (as plans drop during the year and special enrollment is utilized), the total uninsured rate is at an all-time low.
As for how many are covered under ObamaCare here in 2017? “20 million plus” is a good answer to how many are currently covered by all coverage provisions (that is between the Marketplace, Medicaid expansion, young adults staying on their parents plan, and other coverage provisions).
The specifics change based on what report we are discussing, what methodology they are using, what demographics are being considered, and what months we are talking about (and if we are using average or current numbers). That is all explained below.
The Facts and Myths on Enrollment Numbers
In their 2010 report, the CBO projected 23 million enrolled by 2017.
Then in 2014 after 4 years of data and changes, they projected to be 26 million more insured under the ACA by 2017 than without it.
This was then revised down to 24-25 million in 2015, then down again in later years to 22-23 million (as more data came in, for example after it became clear that some states were not going to expand Medicaid).
We know that 20 million plus are currently covered; that the number would have been about 23 million if there were not lower enrollments this year due in part to instability caused by the looming repeal and the status of the mandate. The highest projection was off by roughly the 5 million blocked from coverage by states not expanding Medicaid. We can see that the CBO has calculated correctly.
The specifics require one to parse through all the old CBO reports, but the gist is easy to get. The CBO has been a reliable source for data; Trump conflated marketplace enrollments and total insured via all provisions in his tweet.