About that CBO Score

I try to offer a bit of perspective on the ugly CBO coverage number that Capitol Hill is buzzing about.

The Congressional Budget Office’s model loves the individual mandate.

Loves it. It’s part of the reason the ACA ended up with one in the first place, despite Candidate Obama going so far as to run attack ads excoriating Secretary Clinton for it during the 2008 primary.

It helped that Clinton’s position on the mandate was shared by most Democrats; but, as Ryan Lizza noted in a 2012 New Yorker piece on Obama’s evolution, the CBO consideration was a major and explicit part of the calculus.

So if we know that the model gave generous treatment to the individual mandate in the first place — overly so, based on actual enrollment figures — it should come as no surprise that it judges repeal of the mandate quite harshly. It can’t help that the replacement mechanism inserted by Republicans, a 3o percent lapse surcharge ostensibly meant to incentivize continued coverage, logically has the opposite effect. (If I’m a young, healthy individual, the relative savings of foregoing insurance promises to far outstrip a nominal 12 month penalty in the event of its necessity.)

Full post here.

For a more in-depth look, check out Avik Roy’s analysis over at Forbes.

Continue Reading

NRO: The GOP, Obamacare, and the Pottery Barn Rule

As Congressional Republicans wrestle with a health care repeal plan that reach the President’s desk given the myriad procedural and political constraints, I use my latest column at National Review to offer perspective — and a bit of caution:

If Republicans truly believe Obamacare is in a death spiral and will collapse under its own weight, they had better be confident that nibbling around the edges of the law will be enough to stabilize the system. Otherwise this will be at best a pyrrhic victory, absolving Democrats and leaving Republicans exposed to whatever fallout is yet to come. And regardless of the macro effects, Democrats will be armed with countless heartbreaking anecdotes buttressed by ugly CBO coverage projections. If you’re going to be blamed for disrupting a massive economic sector, you’d better make sure it’s your best shot.

Click here to read the full piece.

Continue Reading

NRO: Millennials Can’t Save the Democratic Party

My latest for National Review is not so much of a rebuttal to Ron Brownstein’s worthwhile Atlantic piece as an extension that seeks to broaden the scope of his question. Whatever effect Trump might have on Millennial voters with respect to partisan imprinting pales in comparison to macro factors that are shaping my generation:

So perhaps the more interesting question is how Millennials differ from previous generations in ways that cut across these demographic subgroups. And the answer is that they’re less religious; they’re more educated; they’re less wealthy than their parents were at the same age; and they’re more likely to be single. Some of these characteristics are a function of recent economic malaise. Some are culturally endemic. But all of them have conspired to produce a generation that lags significantly behind previous ones when it comes to career trajectory, home ownership, and family formation.

This should be a major cause for concern among Republicans, not just because it delays important milestones, but because it renders the party’s appeal to a broad swath of the electorate indefinitely moot. An economically stunted, socially stilted generation mired in transitional purgatory is a far bigger threat to the GOP than the sort of partisan imprinting pondered in Brownstein’s piece. Whether Trump ends up as a blight or a credit to the GOP, his impact on Millennial voting patterns will be secondary to that of broader generational growing pains.

Click here for the full article.

Continue Reading