Is the CLASS Lesson “Trust CBO”?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Battle of the CLASS Rationalizers, Part I: WaPo‘s Ezra Klein tells his flock not to worry, the lesson of the CLASS long-term insurance debacle is “Trust CBO”:

[T]he problem with CLASS isn’t that it unexpectedly failed in practice. It’s that further analysis showed it worked exactly as the Congressional Budget Office predicted: it saved money in the first 10 years and cost money after that. [E.A.]

Hmm. Is that true? That is certainly not the impression I got reading the CLASS rationalization from competing pro-Obamacare wonk Jonathan Cohn:

SO DOESN’T THIS CALL INTO QUESTION THE REST OF THE LAW? It shouldn’t. For one thing, the estimates on long-term care always involved unusually high uncertainty, because the evidence on how such policies work is relatively thin and the insurance product itself was unusual. There’s just wasn’t that much experience on which to base actuarial models. Foster’s projections looked awful but other credible ones, like those from the Congressional Budget Office, did not. (The two had substantially different estimates of how many people would enroll.) Even now, it’s possible that Foster’s estimates were wrong, although he was hardly the only expert who was skeptical. [E.A.]

That sure sounds to me as if the administration decided CBO’s predictions were too optimistic, not that they were “exactly” right. Which raises the obvious question: If CBO was wrong about CLASS what other parts of Obamacare was it wrong about? Cohn reassures us that “[p]rojections for the rest of the Affordable Care Act have a much firmer foundation,” which may be true for some coverage-expanding provisions but can’t possibly be true for the untried, iffy long-term “curve-bending” efforts like the controversial cost-cutting “Independent Payment Advisory Board.” … I await a promised post from Cohn where he explains which cost predictions are solid and which are now inoperative. …

Mickey Kaus