Trump budget head attacks CBO: 'Terrible at counting coverage'

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday blasted the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), one day after the agency projected that the GOP's ObamaCare replacement plan would result in millions more uninsured. 

Mulvaney told CNN's "New Day" that the CBO's report is "exactly what we expected to see."

"This is exactly what we thought the CBO would come forth with," he said. "They're terrible at counting coverage."

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The CBO projected Monday the number of people without health insurance would grow by 14 million in 2018 under the GOP healthcare plan.

It estimated that 24 million people would become uninsured by 2026 under the bill, largely due to the proposed changes to Medicaid.

"Let's go very quickly 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?" Mulvaney said Tuesday.

"It 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."

Mulvaney said the CBO is assuming that once the mandate is gone, those on Medicaid will "give up your free Medicaid and replace it with nothing."

"The CBO report is full of errors — not errors, they're just bad assumptions like that," he said.

"It's the only way you can get to these bizarre numbers. So I don't think it's damage control as much as laying out to people what we thought would happen."

Asked about a Monday report that the White House's internal analysis of the healthcare plan projected that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade — even worse than the CBO's projection — Mulvaney said any such report was based on CBO information.

“The OMB has been very clear from the very beginning that … we admit we don’t know how to count coverage. The OMB does not count coverage,” Mulvaney said. 

“If there is a CBO report that has coverage information in it, the only thing we would have been able to use as base data was from the CBO. … We don’t have the ability to do it independently at the OMB.”

In an interview on Fox News shortly after, Mulvaney continued to defend the GOP's healthcare plan.

"Just because we save money, just because we spend less, doesn't mean we're providing less services," he said.

"In fact, the exact opposite is true. What we've done with this is what the governors asked us to do — governors from both parties — which is to give the states more control over their own Medicaid."

"Everybody wins if we do it properly," he added.