Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis

Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis
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All former directors of the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to congressional leadership on Friday defending the agency against attacks from the White House and Republican lawmakers.

“We write to express our strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process,” wrote the eight former directors of the nonpartisan office, which analyzes legislation.

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The defense comes as Republicans have been ramping up their attacks on the CBO’s estimates of the effects of ObamaCare replacement legislation.

The CBO’s analysis of the latest Senate ObamaCare replacement bill finds that 22 million more people would become uninsured over a decade.

Republicans, though, have dismissed that number. Two White House aides wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post this month calling the CBO’s healthcare estimates “little more than fake news.”

Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (R-Wis.) said Thursday that the CBO’s estimate of coverage losses is a “bogus number.”

Ryan argued that many people will choose not to buy coverage when they are no longer compelled to do so by ObamaCare’s mandate for people to have coverage.

The CBO did find that some people would choose not to buy coverage once the mandate is repealed, but it also found that reduced financial assistance and Medicaid cuts under the bill would result in some people becoming unable to afford coverage.

In a break from precedent, Senate Republicans are also considering voting on their replacement legislation next week without having a CBO analysis of a controversial provision from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky MORE (R-Texas), which is included in the bill.

That provision allows insurers to sell plans that do not meet ObamaCare regulations, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions, if they also sell plans that do. It is aimed at allowing healthy people to buy cheaper plans. Many health experts have warned it would destabilize the market, though.

The CBO has not had time to score the provision, but Republicans are instead pointing to an analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services. That analysis has come under fire from outside experts, though, for its methodology and for keeping some key assumptions confidential.

Many Republicans have sought to discredit the CBO by pointing to its projections of enrollment in ObamaCare’s marketplaces, which were significantly higher than ended up being the case.

The former CBO directors acknowledged they are not perfect. But they added their analysis is “more accurate, on average, than estimates or guesses by people who are not objective and not as well informed as CBO’s analysts."