Mulvaney: ‘According To The CBO, It’s Sunny And 75° This Morning’

AP

The director of the Office of Management and Budget responded to a pessimistic estimate from the Congressional Budget Office on Republicans’ health plan by dismissing the CBO itself as “terrible at counting coverage.”

“Good morning from Washington, where, according to the CBO, it’s sunny and 75° this morning,” Mick Mulvaney quipped to CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday morning. (Winter storm Stella is walloping the Northeast.)

Mulvaney echoed criticisms that both he and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made to reporters outside the White House Monday afternoon. At the time, both acknowledged that they hadn’t had time to read the full report, but Price said its numbers were “not believable.”

So did Mulvaney on Tuesday.

“This is exacly what we thought the CBO would come forward with,” he said. “They’re terrible at counting coverage.”

“The CBO report says that 14 million people will lose care in year one. Let’s go very quickly to what happens in year one. The mandate goes away, that’s it. None of the new policies kick in. The mandate goes away. What does that mean? That means the CBO is telling you that someone, on the day after the Republican plan goes into effect, will drop off of Medicaid they are getting for free and replace it with nothing.”

“The CBO report is full of errors — not errors, they’re just bad assumptions like that,” Mulvaney said. “It’s the only way you can get to these bizarre numbers.”

The CBO estimated that, of the 14 million fewer people who would have care in 2018 under the Republican plan, relative to if Obamacare stayed as law, “[t]hat increase would consist of about 6 million fewer people with coverage obtained in the nongroup market, roughly 5 million fewer people with coverage under Medicaid, and about 2 million fewer people with employment-based coverage.”

Of those who shed their Medicaid coverage before the Republican bill scales back the program, in 2020, the CBO acknowledged some will give up the program simply because they are no longer bound by the mandate:

“Under current law, the penalties associated with the individual mandate apply to some Medicaid-eligible adults and children. (For example, the penalties apply to single individuals with income above about 90 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, also known as the federal poverty level, or FPL),” the report read. “CBO estimates that, without those penalties, fewer people would enroll in Medicaid, including some who are not subject to the penalties but might think they are.”

“Some people might be uncertain about what circumstances trigger the penalty and others might be uncertain about their annual income,” it continues. “The estimated lower enrollment would result in less spending for the program. Those effects on enrollment and spending would continue throughout the 2017-2026 period.”

Watch below via CNN:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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