When the House was busy negotiating its Obamacare repeal bill this spring, conservative Republicans said they had one—and pretty much only one—goal for the legislation: It had to bring down insurance premiums. Period.

“I can tell you that there is one score that the American people will pay attention to,” Mark Meadows, chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said in March, after the first draft of the law emerged. “And that is, does it really lower their health care costs and their premiums? That’s the only score that really matters. And if this doesn’t do it, then we need to make sure that we find something that does do it.”

Meadows and the Freedom Caucus of course threw their support behind the American Health Care Act in May, after negotiating a number of concessions they said would lower the cost of insurance. “Actually, it drives down premiums,” the North Carolina representative said on Morning Joe, adding that, “The first bill that came out actually had an increase in premiums in the short term.” In fact, there wasn’t any obvious way Meadows could have known what the bill would do at the time, since the Congressional Budget Office hadn’t scored it yet. But the CBO’s forecast eventually bore out his point: Though some people, particularly older Americans, would see the cost of insurance rise astronomically, the office concluded that by 2026, average premiums would fall across the states.

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