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President Trump promised the American people that under the Republican health care plan, there would be “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better.” But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report on the Republican bill yesterday and confirmed that Republicans are breaking that promise. Instead, 24 million people will lose health care, and the American people will have to pay more for less under the GOP plan.
The CBO estimates the Republican bill will:
- Take away health coverage from 24 million Americans by 2026, including 14 million people who will be kicked off Medicaid.
- Kick 7 million Americans who receive health insurance through their employer off of their coverage.
- Significantly raise out-of-pocket costs for consumers, particularly older Americans.
- Increase premiums for individual policyholders by 24-29% on average in each of the next two years.
Republicans on the CBO then:
For years, the CBO was respected by Republicans as the nonpartisan scorekeeper for legislation:
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “I say all the time that CBO is God around here…Because policy lives and dies by CBO’s word.” [Federal News Service, 3/2/2006]
Previously, Republicans relied on – and often demanded – the CBO’s analysis as the House considered legislation:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): “Before Congress changes health care as the American people know it, we must know the likely consequences of the House Democrat legislation, including the number of people who would lose access to their current insurance, the number of jobs lost due to business taxes, the number of uninsured people who would obtain coverage, and the extent of the cannibalization of employer coverage due to Medicaid expansion.” [Letter to CBO, 6/23/09]
HHS Secretary Tom Price: “The information CBO provides our committee and our colleagues in Congress is vital to that goal and to the legislative process. Having sound analysis in a timely manner that is responsive to the needs of members of Congress will help us advance real solutions.” [Hearing Remarks, 3/03/15]
In addition, the director of the CBO, Keith Hall, was appointed by House and Senate Republicans:
HHS Secretary Tom Price: “Keith Hall will bring an impressive level of economic expertise and experience to the Congressional Budget Office.” [Press Release, 2/27/15]
Republicans on the CBO now:
Yet, as Republicans continue their attempt to hide the impact of their repeal legislation, they are seeking to undermine the credibility of the CBO:
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney: “‘Just absurd,’ was the way Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, responded to the forecast…” [Washington Post, 3/13/17]
HHS Secretary Tom Price: “The CBO report’s coverage numbers defy logic.” [Washington Post, 3/13/17]
Not all Republicans are on board with discrediting this nonpartisan office:
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “My experience is that it’s the best we have and we do the best we can with it.” [WSJ, 3/13/17]
Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “It's inconceivable they would want to engage in a war on the CBO.” [Bloomberg, 3/7/17]
Republicans Concerned by the CBO’s Findings:
Republicans in the House are turning away from the legislation:
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC): “[The CBO score] does little to alleviate our conservative concerns for this ObamaCare replacement bill.” [The Hill, 3/14/17]
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA): “I do believe that we can enact meaningful health care reforms that put the patient and health care provider back at the center of our health care system, but this bill is not the right answer…”[Washington Post, 3/13/17]
Despite efforts to discredit the office and its findings, it’s clear that the CBO score is raising concerns for many Republicans in the Senate, putting the bill’s passage in doubt:
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I don't think this is particularly good news, if they're half right that's still a lot of people that would be uninsured…” [NBC Tweet, 3/13/17]
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME): “It should prompt the House to slow down and reconsider certain provisions of the bill…We need to spend the time necessary to get this right." [The Hill, 3/13/17]
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “Can't sugarcoat it. Doesn't look good… the CBO score was, shall we say, an eye popper.” [Politico, 3/13/17]
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH): “I'm concerned about the Medicaid population. That's the biggest part of the coverage for Ohio.” [Politico, 3/13/17]
Senator John McCain (R-AZ): “I'm concerned more ... [about] what the House bill will do to Arizona especially since they expanded Medicaid.” [The Hill, 3/13/17]
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): "I have some concerns with the bill. They have not been eliminated by the CBO report." [Axios, 3/13/17]
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Naturally, I'm concerned.” [Politico, 3/13/17]
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT): "We need to do better." [AP, 3/13/17]
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO): “We've got work to do here.” [Politico, 3/13/17]
Senator David Perdue (R-GA): “Congress should ‘slow down’ and ‘get this right.’” [AJC, 3/14/17]
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO): “… the Missouri Republican admitted that the CBO number was ‘troublesome’ to the party’s efforts...” [Politico, 3/13/17]
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