How Trump’s White House Is Delegitimizing Anything That Could Get In The Way Of Its Propaganda

After years of posturing about repealing Obamacare — with scores of votes but no consensus plan to replace it — House Republicans finally released their bill to reshape the health insurance market on Monday.

By Matt Gertz / Senior Fellow at Media Matters / March 9, 2017

 

After years of posturing about repealing Obamacare — with scores of votes but no consensus plan to replace it — House Republicans finally released their bill to reshape the health insurance market on Monday.

President Donald Trump is one of the rare supporters of the proposal: Health care experts and reporters of all ideological stripes, health care industry stakeholders, and Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill promptly panned the legislation, with many noting that it fails to achieve any real policy aim other than providing tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

Notably, Republicans released the bill without a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which would project the number of Americans who would have health insurance if the law is passed and how it will impact the budget. House Republicans voted to pass the bill through committee yesterday even though they don’t have a sense of what will happen if it becomes law.

But according to the White House, there’s no reason to wait for the CBO’s report because the office can’t be trusted to properly analyze the bill anyway.

“If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said yesterday when asked about the issue. “Last time, if you look at the number of people that they projected would be on Obamacare, they are off by millions. So the idea that we’re waiting for a score — it will be scored. But the idea that that’s any kind of authority based on the track record that occurred last time is a little far-fetched.”

That’s a shocking repudiation of the expertise provided by an agency of nonpartisan experts helmed by a director hand-picked by the administration’s own secretary of health and human services, then-Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). It’s also a notable shift for Spicer, who repeatedly cited the CBO’s reports on the impact of Obamacare and its score of Republican replacement legislation while serving as the communications director of the Republican National Committee.

The CBO’s initial 2010 score of the Affordable Care Act wasn’t perfect — the law has cost less and insured fewer people than the agency originally predicted. But at least a score provides a frame of reference for what a bill that will impact the health care of millions of Americans will actually do.