The White House is punting on making predictions about how many people will lose — or gain — health insurance under a Republican plan to replace Obamacare.
“We don’t do these projections,” said President Donald Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer on Tuesday during a White House briefing.
Spicer’s demurral came after he scoffed at estimates by the Congressional Budget Office that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 if the GOP bill becomes law than if Obamacare stayed in place.
He said the CBO’s “attempts to estimate coverage have been historically flawed,” and pointed to prior projections from the office that millions more people would end up being covered by Obamacare than actually happened.
The CBO’s estimate released Monday analyzes the effects of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act.
Hours after its release, Politico.com revealed that Trump’s Office of Management and Budget had estimated that 26 million additional people — 2 million more than the CBO had said — would be uninsured under the GOP plan.
The White House quickly said that the OMB estimate was not an actual projection based on the Republican bill. Instead, the White House said, it was an estimate of what the CBO would end up estimating, based on the CBO’s methodology.
Either way, the CBO’s estimates were a bombshell for congressional Republicans, adding a significant hurdle to winning passage of the bill. The GOP was already facing pushback from conservative members of the caucus who complain that the bill is not a wholesale repeal of Obamacare.