The White House Gets a Basic Math Problem Wrong

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Yesterday was the much anticipated release of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Senate’s healthcare bill, at least if you are a Democrat. Republicans, including the White House, seemed to know that the report, issued by the non-partisan CBO, would likely hurt the prospects of the bill passing. Because of their foresight, the White House decided to try and delegitimize the 43-year old budget office just prior to them releasing a score for the bill on Monday afternoon.

At 2:49 PM EST, the White house sent out the following tweet (see below), not only filled with lies, but also some horrific math. Before we get into the simple laws of numerators and denominators let’s first address what’s wrong with the context of the tweet.

The White House claims that back when the ACA was being pushed through by Democrats and the Obama administration, the CBO report indicated that 23 million Americans would gain health insurance as a result of the ACA. The White House claims this number was just 10.7 million. However, numerous reports indicate that the number falls somewhere between 17 and 22 million new healthcare enrollees since Obamacare went into effect. Besides the White House’s numbers being drastically incorrect, any gap between the CBO’s estimates and the actual number of new individuals gaining insurance under the ACA is likely due to the fact that 19 Republican Governors have refused the Medicaid expansion. There was no way for the CBO to predict that, in mid-2012, the Supreme Court would rule against the mandated Medicaid expansion provision within the ACA. In fact, if the expansion was forced upon all 50 states, the number of those gaining insurance likely would have eclipsed the CBO’s estimate.

Even if we all were living in the alternative universe that the White House seems to be present in, the claim that the CBO score was ‘off by 100%’ is simply a case of bad math. According to the White House, the difference between what the CBO reported and what they claim were the actual numbers is 23 million – 10.3 million = 12.7 million.

12.7 million / 23 million = 0.552 or 55.2%, not 100%.

Clearly whoever created this graphic did not pay attention in 5th grade math class, as they used the wrong numbers in their simple division equation. Let’s just hope the same people aren’t in charge of the Commerce Department or the White House’s budget.

  • Mat Cauthon

    Or they started with the value of 10.3 million and compared that number to the 23 million… In that (very likely) case, they rounded down slightly, but had proper math. So the problem was not their math, but the stupidity of Brian in not correctly understanding a “5th grade math problem”. But what would I know… I’m only a Senior in mathematics…

    • Baby Skyelander

      Even if you made the mistake of using 10.3 million instead of 12.7, it still doesn’t equate to being “off by more than 100%.” The bigger concern is what the hell is going on in the White House. Who is in charge? How did this get made public without going through a fact-checker & editor. It’s shameful.

      • Mat Cauthon

        Very well, let’s look at this. 10.3 million compared to 23 million. 23 million is 123.3% greater than 10.3. How is that not equated to “off by more than 100%”. How did it get made public without going through a fact-checker & editor? Very likely it did… it made it through by being mathematically correct…

  • Aleksandr Cyplakov

    Math is hard, OK GUYS??? 😂😂😂

  • Continuing to be astonished by the bullshit that spews out of DC. What’s going on up there?