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NRO’s health-care blog.

The CBO Is Using the Wrong Number of Uninsured



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By all accounts, the Congressional Budget Office is using the Census Bureau’s tallies for the number of uninsured, but the CBO doesn’t appear to have read the full Census report. In the very same document in which the now-famous number of 46 million uninsured appears, the Census admits that this number includes roughly 9 million people on Medicaid who were falsely recorded as uninsured. The CBO is not adjusting for this Medicaid undercount. Therefore, the CBO is inflating the number of uninsured — by about 20 percent.    As I detailed in the New York Post last month, according to the Census, there are 28 million uninsured Americans:  46 million, minus 9 million non-citizens, minus the 9 million people on Medicaid who were falsely tallied. That’s 28 million out of 280 million American citizens (according to the Census), so 90 percent of Americans are insured — and nearly half of the rest make more money than most Americans do (also according to the Census).    But the CBO isn’t using the right figure, so its results — and thus its evaluations of the proposed legislation — are wildly askew. For example, the CBO says that the House health bill would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by about 32 million — out of the 28 million uninsured Americans that the Census says exist – and that 12 million Americans would remain uninsured. That adds up about as well as President Obama’s recent claim that siphoning hundreds of billions of dollars out of Medicare to spend on his own agenda “will streghthen Medicare.”    Subtracting from Medicare doesn’t strengthen Medicare anymore than 28 minus 32 equals 12. None of this inspires particular confidence in the federal government’s ability to run one-sixth of our economy.



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