White House Hammers CBO for Health Bill Score

June 27, 2017

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Source: The Hill

The White House slammed the Congressional Budget Office after its analysis showed the Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured over the next decade.

“The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage,” the White House said in a statement on Monday evening.

“This history of inaccuracy, as demonstrated by its flawed report on coverage, premiums, and predicted deficit arising out of Obamacare, reminds us that its analysis must not be trusted blindly.”

President Trump’s team is questioning the credibility of the non-partisan budget office in order to stanch the political fallout from the score.

The numbers have created a hurdle for GOP leaders, who are hoping to hold a vote on the ObamaCare overhaul this week, before senators leave for July 4 recess.

The bill would result in 15 million more uninsured people next year alone mostly because it repeals the mandate for people to buy insurance, the CBO said. Lower levels of financial assistance would make premiums unaffordable for many low-income people, and premiums would rise as well, causing millions more to not buy insurance in the subsequent years.

A handful of Republican senators announced after the report became public that they would not vote to advance the bill.

To back up its claims, the White House said a 2013 CBO score missed coverage estimates under ObamaCare for 2016 by 13 million people and had to significantly revise its uninsured estimate as well.

The White House is apparently not on the same page as Senate GOP leaders, who chose to focus on positive numbers for them in the analysis, such as the $321 billion in deficit reduction over a decade.

“The Senate will soon take action on a bill that the Congressional Budget Office just confirmed will reduce the growth in premiums under Obamacare, reduce taxes on the middle class, and reduce the deficit,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

“The American people need better care now, and this legislation includes the necessary tools to provide it,” he added.

The CBO appeared to anticipate the line of attack from the White House; it included a defense of its estimates in the report on the Senate bill.
“Despite the uncertainty, the direction of certain effects of this legislation is clear,” the budget office wrote. “For example, the amount of federal revenues collected and the amount of spending on Medicaid would almost surely both be lower than under current law. And the number of uninsured people under this legislation would almost surely be greater than under current law.”
The White House previously questioned the work of the independent office in March before it analyzed the House version of the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.
Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, earlier this month apologized to the CBO’s top healthcare analyst for suggestion she is biased.
“It is the director who bears the ultimate responsibility for reports delivered by the non-partisan organization,” Mulvaney said in a statement.
CBO Director Keith Hall was appointed by congressional Republican leaders in 2015, including by then-Budget Committee chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is now Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary.
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