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Warning: Beware of Deceptive Responses to Upcoming CBO Report on the Revised AHCA

May 16, 2017

Warning: Beware of Deceptive Responses to Upcoming CBO Report on the Revised AHCA

Public Citizen Report Deconstructs Numerous Deceptions in OMB Director Mulvaney’s Rebuttal to First CBO Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a much anticipated estimate on the effects of the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA) expected soon from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the public should be on the lookout for misleading and deceptive statements from the Trump administration, Public Citizen said today.

In a report (PDF) issued today, Public Citizen offers a guide to the distortions and selective rhetoric put forth by U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney in response to the initial CBO report on the first iteration of the GOP bill. Mulvaney has been called the administration’s “top Trump lieutenant” on health care. This report is part two of an ongoing series about Mulvaney.

“Mulvaney and the rest of the administration likely will do everything they can to discredit the upcoming CBO report,” said Michael Tanglis, senior researcher for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report. “When the CBO releases its next analysis, the public and the press need to call out Mulvaney on any obfuscations and omissions about premium rates, benefits, Medicaid cuts and rosy promises about undefined future ‘phases’ of Trumpcare.”

Among Mulvaney’s deceptions after the first CBO report:

  • Mulvaney praised the CBO’s finding that the bill would eventually lower average premiums by roughly 10 percent for people who buy their own policies. Mulvaney did not acknowledge that the conclusion was based upon its finding that the bill would make health care unaffordable for many seniors, because the CBO estimated it would increase premiums for some seniors by more than 750 percent. Therefore, seniors would drop insurance altogether, lowering the average premium among those who retained insurance.
  • Mulvaney claimed that the problem with Obamacare is that people have coverage but can’t afford care. But he failed to mention that under the GOP’s AHCA plan, health care plans would cover less – which would worsen the problem he claims the bill addresses because the key component of the legislation eliminates the requirement that plans cover roughly 60 percent of benefit costs. The ability for states to opt-out of “essential” benefits coverage, which is included in the more recent version of the AHCA that passed the House, would make this problem even worse.
  • On the CBO’s estimate that 24 million fewer people would be insured by 2026 under the GOP’s AHCA, Mulvaney made it seem as though most of those people would be Medicaid recipients dropping their coverage in the first year because the individual mandate would go away. He virtually ignored the roughly 19 million additional people who would be without insurance by 2026 because of changes to Medicaid that would lower the number of people covered, as well as other provisions in the law, according to the CBO’s analysis.

“When the first CBO score was released, Mulvaney relished his joke that according to the CBO, it was ‘sunny and 75 degrees’ in D.C. when it was in fact snowing,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen. “The truth is, Mulvaney likely was upset that the light – or the sun – had shined on the administration’s brutal health care bill that will cost seniors thousands, reduce benefit cost coverage and result in 24 million more people lacking insurance.”