The Congressional Budget Office released its estimate of the impact of the proposed American Health Care Act, the Republican-backed legislation to repeal and reform Obamacare, on Monday. According to the CBO, the bill would increase the number of uninsured by 14 million by 2018 and by 24 million by 2026.
Q. What is the CBO?
A. The CBO is an independent, nonpartisan office that analyzes the budgetary impact of proposed legislation. It was created by Congress in 1974 and operates by rules and regulations set by the House and Senate Budget committees.
Q. Why is the CBO analysis of legislation so important?
A. Because of its commitment to and reputation for objectivity, even sharply divided ideologues usually trust its conclusions and adjust legislative proposals based on its findings.
Q. Haven’t some CBO estimates been controversial?
A. Yes, some have. For example, the CBO estimated a proposed Senate immigration reform bill floated in 2013 would reduce the deficit by $200 billion over 10 years. The conservative Heritage Foundation’s analysis estimated the proposal would increase the deficit by a far larger amount.
Q. How does the CBO maintain its reputation for impartiality and objectivity?
A. The CBO’s analysts are experts in the tax code and consult a wide range of outside experts on various subject matters. The staff is vetted to assure members have no conflicts of interest, and the office limits its employees’ political activity. Experts offering opinions are asked to disclose potential financial interests and political perspectives that might reasonably be seen as influencing their views.
Q. What has the CBO said about previous efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act?
A. In June 2015, the CBO estimated that repeal of the ACA, which became law in 2010, would increase deficits by $353 billion over the 2016-2025 period. Ending outlays for subsidies to purchase insurance through exchanges would be offset by the repeal of taxes for high-income taxpayers and fees on health insurers.
Q. Who is in charge of the CBO?
A. Economist Keith Hall became the ninth director of the CBO on April 1, 2015. He was appointed jointly by then then-House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, president pro tempore of the Senate, after receiving recommendations from the House and Senate Budget committees.
11Alive's Matt Pearl is joined by Marc Jenkins with InsureGA to discuss the Congressional Budget Office and its analysis of the proposed American Health Care Act.