A few days ago, Doug Holtz-Eakin, James Capretta, and AEI’s Joe Antos published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) fiscal impact failed to provide a true account of the cost of the bill. They warned ACA advocates to not tout CBO’s recent finding that repeal would increase budget deficits over the next ten years because the estimates were subject to “budget gimmicks, deceptive accounting, and implausible assumptions.”
On Wednesday, Ezra Klein took this argument and grossly misrepresented it. He portrayed the authors’ skepticism as a “bad faith” attack on the competency and impartiality of the CBO, and then proceeded to accuse Republicans of living in their own (read: delusional) world where no matter what the evidence is, they consider the bill a budget-buster.
If Klein’s assertions were not so far off the mark, letting them stand would not be irresponsible. But characterizing the well-supported arguments of three healthcare experts—including a former CBO director and former CBO staff member—as dishonest and portraying skepticism about the bill’s fiscal impact as delusional required Klein to meet a burden of proof that he failed to sustain.