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Republicans Respond to the CBO Report on Trumpcare

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put out its report on President Trump’s healthcare plan, Trumpcare, and the Republican response has been all over the map. The White House has spent a good deal of time throwing shade at the CBO. The House GOP  leadership says the report is good news. Other House and Senate Republicans are troubled by the report and say that the bill needs to be changed.

trumpcare cbo tom price

Pool/Getty Images

The White House began its response days before the report was even issued. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, before the report was released, “If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.” Now that the report is out and is official, the Trump Administration has again said it is wrong. Tom Price, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said, “we disagree strenuously” with the parts of the report that show that 14 million people will lose coverage by 2018 and 24 million will lose it by 2026. They do agree with the analysis from the office when it comes to the impact the bill will have on the deficit.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 9: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., conducts a presentation in the House studio of the American Health Care Act, the GOP's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, March 9, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) sees the report differently. He likes the report and thinks that it validates what he has already said about the new bill. His office released this statement:

This report confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care. CBO also finds that this legislation will provide massive tax relief, dramatically reduce the deficit, and make the most fundamental entitlement reform in more than a generation. These are things we are achieving in just the first of a three-pronged approach. It’s important to note that this report does not take into consideration additional steps Congress and the Trump administration are taking that will further lower costs and increase choices.

Ryan may be alone in his assessment of the CBO report. Not only is the White House unhappy with it but Republicans on both sides of the Hill are worried. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said, “Obviously I am concerned about the number of people who the CBO has estimated would be at risk of losing their insurance. Well, we have the opportunity to change the bill. I know that the House and Senate don’t always see eye to eye and I suspect this will be one of those times.” Collins also put this out in a statement:

The CBO estimate that millions of Americans could lose their health insurance coverage if the House bill were to become law is cause for alarm. It should prompt the House to slow down and reconsider certain provisions of the bill.

The new criticism of the bill mirrors what GOP leaders have been saying since it was released last week.

The GOP used to love CBO reports.

The irony of the GOP responses to the CBO is not just that the current head of the office was appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan but that they have often referred to its analysis as the “gold standard.” GOP Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) once said, “The CBO is like God.”

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