"In the real world, the Obamacare exchanges are in crisis, millions of uninsured people willingly pay or avoid IRS penalties, and consumers struggle with rising premiums and cost-sharing requirements.
"But for CBO, Obamacare is a sea of tranquility. The agency assumes that only 26 million people under the age of 65 will be uninsured this year and next if Obamacare is left in place. To hit that mark, 2 million fewer people would have to be uninsured this year than last.
"That seems unlikely. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) estimates that 27.9 million people under age 65 lacked coverage as of September 30 last year, the most recent date for which government survey data are available. That represents little improvement over its estimate of 28.4 million as of December 2015, meaning that the number of non-elderly uninsured declined by only half a million through the first nine months of last year.
"Since then, the Obamacare individual exchanges have begun to implode. Fewer people signed up during the open-enrollment period this year than last, due in part to premium hikes that averaged 25 percent. Other insurance companies didn’t bother raising prices; they fled the exchanges. By January, 1,000 counties were down to their last insurer. Five entire states have just a single company selling through the exchanges.
"A rational observer might worry that the exchanges were on the brink of doom. Not CBO. Its analysts believe that Obamacare is on the cusp of a miracle. The number of nonelderly uninsured not only will drop this year but hold steady in 2018, according to CBO, even though millions could find themselves without an insurer in their exchanges." . . .