This Is Another Argument Republicans Make.


Here we have Representative Steve Russell, Republican from Oklahoma, discussing the CBO figure regarding the number of uninsured should the current tax bill gut Medicaid:

“Well, I think the first thing we have to examine is that 23 million figure. It’s not a hard figure. In fact, it’s probably only roughly a third of that that’s actually enrolled. The numbers & projections are those who might enroll at current rates at some time in the future.”

Now, of course he’s correct about the fact that the CBO number is based, in part, on future behavior. However, the good gentleman from Oklahoma is being disingenuous. He ignores two things: the actual number of people who gained healthcare under Medicaid expansion & are currently enrolled is 10.7 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as reported by PolitiFact, and the numbers of insured have been the most reliable & accurate projections made by the CBO.

First, the numbers of the enrolled reflect the latest available data, counting through the end of 2015. We’ve surely added many, many more people since 2015. Second, even just counting the numbers of those who gained coverage under expansion, that number is already closer to half of the CBO estimate of those who will lose coverage.

Given that the CBO estimates that 14 million people who are covered by Medicaid will lose healthcare. 10.7 million of those are currently enrolled as of 2015. Factor in that the program continues through 2020, & you’re likely to see the actual number become much larger. If anything, the CBO number of uninsured from Medicaid cuts is conservative.

Further, I think it bears noting that, while initial CBO estimates from 2010 found more people in the exchanges than actually are but less people in Medicaid than actually are, the CBO ultimately predicted 22 million would gain healthcare; some 24 million actually did gain healthcare. Overall, the CBO score seems far more reliable than the gentleman would have us believe.

He goes on to say that “Obamacare is failing” & insist that something has to be done. Of course, rather than address the real issues of implementing the ACA, the “do something” remedy for all republicans is to eliminate anything Obama at all costs, regardless of consequences.

I think it seems fair to call “bullshit” on the congressman’s claims. He tries to minimize the damage his Party’s bill will cause by discrediting the CBO. This tactic has been tried, but to anyone who looks at the facts it should be obvious that these claims are, at best, half-truths in service of a larger mendacity.

I would also suggest that if this is how we are going to debate, that we may already be lost. We cannot continue to “spin” facts to a partisan cause. In doing so, we make the lie worse because it creates discord & division within the body politic, most of whom won’t look for the facts themselves.

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