White House goes after budget office scoring healthcare bill

The White House on Wednesday questioned the work of the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ahead of its widely anticipated estimate for the GOP's bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

White House press Sean Spicer said the scorekeeper was “way off last time” in its cost estimate of the Affordable Care Act, arguing its numbers on the Republicans’ replacement should not be taken as the final word.

"If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place,” Spicer said. 

Spicer indicated the Trump White House plans to release its own estimate of the bill through the Office of Management and Budget. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The preemptive attacks on the budget office from Republicans are likely a sign that they  expect the CBO will find that their plan will leave more Americans without health insurance and raise costs for the government.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have argued the House shouldn’t vote on the repeal and replace measure until the CBO releases its cost estimate. 

Keith Hall, the current CBO director, was appointed by then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE (R-Ohio) in 2015. Tom Price, who is now President Trump's Health and Human Services secretary, was heavily involved in the selection as then-chairman of the House Budget Committee. 

The CBO is rushing to provide an analysis of the GOP's repeal and replace bill, which would repeal many aspects of the Affordable Care Act and creates a new tax credit to help people buy insurance.

Trump and Spicer have frequently cited the CBO in the past while making the case against ObamaCare. 

"CBO now estimates that over 2.5M will lose jobs directly because of ObamaCare. REPEAL now before it is too late," Trump tweeted in April 2014. 

"Bet Dems wished #obamacare covered the sting from the CBO report showing #Obamacare Cody's jobs & adds 2 deficit," Spicer tweeted in February of that year. 

Spicer also tweeted out a report earlier this year showing that a GOP-backed repeal bill would save more than $500 billion over a decade. 

Republicans began committee markups of the legislation on Wednesday, and hope to have the bill to the House floor in two weeks.

- Updated at 2:51 p.m.