Panicked White House disowns its own budget office


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has delivered the bad news that 24 million people will lose health care under the Republican repeal plan — news which the White House tried to preempt last week by telling reporters they should only trust Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But now that the OMB has delivered even worse news, the White House says not to trust those numbers, either.

Donald Trump's White House knew they would have a problem on their hands when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) got around to scoring the Republicans' Obamacare repeal plan.

And so they waged a duplicitous campaign to discredit the CBO in advance of that report.

In fact, at a recent press briefing, when reporters asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer if there were any trustworthy sources for predicting the repeal bill's effects, Spicer had just one answer at the ready:

LIASSON: People base their votes on what they think is going to happen to the cost and the coverage.

SPICER: That's right.

LIASSON: Is there any analytic organization that you would accept a score from?

SPICER: Well, I think that there is — yeah, I mean, I think OMB will probably put out a score.


Spicer was referring to the Trump administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), headed by Mick Mulvaney, who says that "insurance is not really the end goal" of health insurance reform. That philosophy, it turns out, is reflected in the OMB's own analysis of the repeal plan, which shows that 26 million people will lose insurance under the plan, two million more than CBO projects.

That might explain why OMB has not publicized their analysis, which was instead leaked to Politico:

A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office, according to a document viewed by POLITICO on Monday.

The executive branch analysis forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimates. The White House has made efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO.

When confronted with their own budget office's analysis, the White House sought to discredit its own report:

"This is not an analysis of the bill in any way whatsoever," White House Communications Director Michael Dubke told POLITICO. "This is OMB trying to project what CBO’s score will be using CBO’s methodology."

Analyzing the plan using CBO's methodology is, in fact, literally the definition of "analysis of the bill," and the CBO's methodology is not a secret.

It is no surprise that the White House is trying to disown their own report because it delivered worse news than expected, but it is still galling, as this is the exact source that they told us to trust just a few days ago. The irony is that for a change, the Trump administration has been caught in a truth, and will likely face greater political consequences for it than they have for any of their many lies.