Fox Falsely Blames Administration's Tweaks For Ending CBO's Obamacare Scoring


A Fox News correspondent blamed the Obama administration's tweaks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) announcement that it would no longer estimate the total cost of the law, and suggested that the changes may increase deficits. In fact, the CBO and budget experts explained that the CBO routinely stops providing budgetary estimates once a law is implemented, and that the CBO's estimate that the ACA would reduce the deficit remains correct.

Congressional Budget Office Announces It Will No Longer Estimate The Total Cost Of The ACA

CBO Will No Longer Estimate The Total Cost of The ACA. The CBO's April update of the ACA's insurance coverage provisions announced that the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation "can no longer determine exactly how the provisions of the ACA that are not related to the expansion of health insurance coverage have affected their projections of direct spending and revenues." [Congressional Budget Office, 4/14/14]

Fox News: Changes To Obamacare's Implementation Made CBO Estimates Impossible, May Create Deficits

Fox Correspondent: Changes To Implementation Caused CBO To End Scoring, Robbing Obamacare Of Revenue. On the July 11 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Jim Angle blamed the Obama administration's "unilateral changes" in the implementation of the ACA for "the Congressional Budget Office recently sa[ying] it could no longer keep track of the spending." He also stoked fears that the changes in implementation "are robbing the system of revenues intended to pay the program" and suggested it would lead to a budget shortfall. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 7/11/14]

CBO And Experts Explain That Scoring Of Legislation Routinely Stops After Implementation As Law

CBO: Ending Scoring Of Legislation After It Becomes Law Is Not "Unique To The ACA," Has Nothing To Do With How Law Has Been Implemented. On June 17, the CBO explained the difficulty it would have in continuing to estimate the budgetary effects of the ACA, insisting that the problem of creating such estimates "is by no means unique to the ACA, nor is it related to developments regarding the implementation of the ACA that have surprised CBO and JCT." The CBO further explained that "the problem is common to all legislation that changes existing federal programs or tax provisions with results that cannot be clearly distinguished from what would have occurred under previous law." [Congressional Budget Office, 6/17/14]

Former CBO Director Peter Orszag: "As A General Practice," CBO Doesn't Score After Implementation Of Laws. Former CBO Director Peter Orszag, who also served as the Obama administration's Office of Management and Budget director, told Vox that conservative allegations as to why that the CBO would no longer score Obamacare are "puzzling," explaining: "As a general practice, they don't do ex-post scoring; they score beforehand. What's unusual in this case is not that they stopped scoring -- but that they did a bunch ex-post scoring in the first place." [Vox, 7/11/14]

CRFB Research Director: No Similar Law "Has Ever Been Re-Scored In Its Entirety After Implementation." Loren Adler, the Research Director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Vox: "We talked through the question here at CRFB, and none of us can even think of a law that interacts with different parts of the budget that has ever been re-scored in its entirety after implementation." [Vox, 7/11/14]

CBO Says Its Estimates That Obamacare Lowers The Deficit Still Stand

CBO: According To Latest Revisions, ACA Still Reduces The Deficit. In the June 17 memo explaining the inability of the Congressional Budget Office to continue scoring the ACA now that it's been implemented as law, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote:

Based on revisions to the estimated budgetary effects of aspects of the ACA that CBO and JCT have analyzed, the agencies have no reason to think that their initial assessment that the ACA would reduce budget deficits was incorrect. [Congressional Budget Office, 6/17/14]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.