Tags: Healthcare Reform | Mick Mulvaney | CBO | Analysis | ACHA

Mick Mulvaney Doesn't Believe CBO's Analysis of AHCA

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 09:26 AM

Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that the Congressional Budget Office is "wrong" to say millions of Americans would lose health insurance under the American Health Care Act.

"I'm not just saying that because it looks bad for my political position," Mulvaney told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I'm saying that based upon a track record of the CBO being wrong before, and we believe the CBO is wrong now."

For example, Mulvaney said, the CBO numbers assume that people will leave Medicaid as soon as the individual mandate from Obamacare is taken away, but he doubts that people will leave a program that is free for them merely because they're no longer required to carry coverage.

Mulvaney said there has been much criticism over the CBO's ability to count coverage numbers, as it's been wrong before.

Just three years ago, he said, when Obamacare was already in force, the CBO estimated there would be 24 million people with coverage through the program's exchanges.

"Today, it's 11.5 million," Mulvaney said. "They missed by 50 percent over a window of just a couple of years. It's really, really hard to do this. We don't even try to do this at the OMB, that's how difficult it is."

The CBO, he continued, is "good at counting money, in and out, numbers, taxes, policies and so forth," but they are not the best when it comes to evaluating the impact of health care coverage changes.

"So the question that's been asked over and over and over again though is, are people going to lose healthcare coverage?" show co-host Mika Brzezinski argued. "Are people going to be uninsured under Trumpcare or whatever you want to call it, this new plan or this repeal and replace? And Republican after Republican who supports it has just failed to answer the question. And now the CBO comes out with this report saying 24 million Americans, 14 in the next year, and we're supposed to also believe that these numbers are way off and that nobody’s going to lose their health care?"

Meanwhile, the OMB director told the program that the end goal for the replacement effort is not determining how many people will have insurance, but rather how many will have coverage they can use.

"We are looking at it a different way, because insurance is not the end goal here, is it?" Mulvaney said. Republicans' main objection to Obamacare all along, he continued, was that it "was a great way to get insurance and a lousy way to actually be able to go to the doctor."

"So we're choosing instead to look at what we think is more important to ordinary people: can they afford to go to the doctor," Mulvaney said. "We're absolutely convinced it would be possible for more people to get better care at the doctor under this plan than under Obamacare."

Mulvaney noted that while he was a member of the House, he had an Obamacare plan that "somebody who makes a lot less than I did at the time would have," and he had a $12,000 or $15,000 a year annual deductible.

"I could afford it," Mulvaney said. "How could the person who makes one-fifth of what I was making ever afford to go to the doctor? You sit there and talk about coverage, but coverage is not the end. People don't get better with coverage."

It's also important to President Donald Trump that people can afford to see a doctor, said Mulvaney.

"How do these folks who supported him, how do these folks who need this assistance, how do these folks actually get to go to the doctor when they get sick?" he said.

Mulvaney, also appearing on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," argued that there are Democrats who think things can't be bettered if there is less money spent, but "just because we save money, just because we spend less doesn't mean we're providing less services. In fact, the exact opposite is true."

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The ACHA, he said, does what the nation's governors from both parties wanted, to "give states more control over their own Medicaid, so they can drive their own efficiencies. Everybody wins if we do it properly."

According to the CBO's report, people will see their premiums climb steadily once they become older, but Mulvaney said the premiums are expected to come down once there is more competition.

The CBO used an example of a person with an income of $26,500, reports Vox.com. At age 21, that person would benefit from the GOPs' bill, as he'd pay an average of $1,450, compared to $1,700 under Obamacare.

However, once that person is 64 years old, that number increases drastically, according to the CBO's report. Under Obamacare, which is dependent on income, the person would pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance, but under the ACHA, those premiums would cost $14,600, or more than half their salary, marking more than a 750 percent increase in premiums.

Meanwhile, a 68-year-old with an income of $68,200 a year would pay $15,300 for insurance, as his income would be higher than Obamacare guidelines for subsidies. Under the ACHA, people who earn less than $75,000 would get a tax credit, making the insurance just slightly less, at $14,600 a year.

Show co-host Ainsley Earhardt said she was "shocked" by those figures, but Mulvaney said there were other numbers from the CBO showing premiums going down.

"We are not even sure if the CBO has scored some of the other terms in the bill," said Mulvaney.

Also according to the CBO, the people who will lose in the deal are those between the ages of 50 and 64, who are below the Medicaid eligible age.

"We've said this from the beginning, the CBO is measuring against the wrong thing," said Mulvaney. "To that same group of voters, go ask them. Go find a 55-year-old person who is on Obamacare right now and ask them if they can afford to go to the doctor. They're going to tell you without exception that they can't. They know that our program will give that to them."

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Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that the Congressional Budget Office is "wrong" to say millions of Americans would lose health insurance under the American Health Care Act.
Mick Mulvaney, CBO, Analysis, ACHA
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 09:26 AM
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