GOP senator questions if CBO 'cooked the books' on ObamaCare

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) demanded that leaders from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) testify before the Senate Finance Committee on why early cost estimates of ObamaCare were so far off.

“Now the American people have to pick up the tab on the CBO errors,” Roberts said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “I’m calling for CBO to come before the [Finance] Committee. … Let the hearings begin.” 

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Roberts’ comments came as CBO released a report Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, would cost the country 2.5 million jobs over the next 10 years.

The nonpartisan agency found the reform law’s negative effects on the economy would be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated.

It said the equivalent of 2.3 million workers would be lost by 2021, compared to its previous estimate of 800,000, and that 2.5 million workers would be lost by 2024. It also projected that labor force compensation would be reduced by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024 — twice its previous estimate — and that declining economic growth would add $1 trillion more to deficits.

Roberts questioned if CBO’s error was because of political pressure in order to get enough Democratic support to pass the law in 2010.

“This is about accountability of past actions and we must ask the difficult question,” Roberts, who serves on the Finance Committee, said. “Was this political? Were the books cooked?”

The White House swiftly pushed back against the findings, seeking to dismiss suggestions from Republicans that ObamaCare has economic growth.

 

— Erik Wasson contributed to this article.

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