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White House criticizes CBO on replacement bill — but their report was worse

President Donald Trump's Obamacare replacement bill hit some stumbling blocks from the Congressional Budget Office's assessment, which the administration criticized heavily, despite their own assessment being worse. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The White House and Republicans are on the defensive about the Obamacare replacement bill after the Congressional Budget Office report showed millions would become uninsured, but the administration's own estimate was even worse.

According to Politico, the Office of Management and Budget reported their estimate of Americans who would end up without health insurance under the Republican plan, and it's 2 million worse than the CBO estimate, which the White House criticized heavily.

"Twenty-four hours after the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Republican plan to replace Obamacare," Bret Baier reported on Fox News, "White House officials said the CBO report just does not add up."

Fox News' White House correspondent John Roberts added, "The Congressional Budget Office should stick to dollars and cents, and not try to project people or outcomes. That's the message from the White House today as the staff here pushes back against the finding that 24 million people would lose coverage under the proposed new health care plan."

"The White House has criticized the CBO for not taking into account phases two and three of the overall plan," Roberts continued, "which aims to lower the cost of insurance and prescription drugs. The phases two and three haven't been crafted yet."

"How are they supposed to take into account something that doesn't yet exist?" Roberts asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing.

"Well, I think that's a question for the House to offer," Spicer deflected. "There are constraints that are put on the CBO in terms of what they can't consider. But I think the point that we want to make and it came up yesterday in the briefing is if members are going to base their vote off a score, they need to understand the totality and the comprehensive nature of the entire program."

"Trumpcare is a wreck," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), "and we all knew that before the Congressional Budget Office released its surprisingly scathing score last night."

Schumer mocked how no one wanted to take credit for the replacement legislation, saying, "No one wants to claim this bill, if it's so good, why aren't they rushing to have their names on it? Trump wants to call it Ryancare, Ryan wants to call it Trumpcare, it's classic Abbott and Costello."

But the administration denied that the OMB assessment was meant to be a true representation of the effects of the bill, but was instead an attempt to predict what the CBO report would surmise.

White House officials late Monday night disputed that the document is an analysis of the bill’s coverage effects. Instead, they say it was an attempt by the OMB to predict what CBO’s scorekeepers would conclude about the GOP repeal plan.

“This is not an analysis of the bill in any way whatsoever,” White House Communications Director Michael Dubke told Politico. “This is OMB trying to project what CBO’s score will be using CBO’s methodology.”

According to documents viewed by Politico, the OMB analysis intended to assess the coverage and spending outcomes of the legislation.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida announced Tuesday that she would vote "no" on the troubled bill that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) slammed as "immoral" and "indecent." After the CBO report was released, Trump ally Newt Gingrich excoriated the office and said that Republicans should abolish it for its history of dishonesty and bias. House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the report exceeded his expectations. 

Trump has fully backed the bill, which some say would threaten his entire presidency if it failed to pass. 

One last thing…
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