Aides to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked the credibility of the nonpartisan agency that will analyze the costs of a replacement for Obamacare, as the White House sought to quell opposition from many conservative Republicans.
The Congressional Budget Office, which provides official estimates of the budget impact of proposed legislation, is expected to issue a report as soon as Monday that will assess the healthcare legislation put forward by Republican House of Representatives leaders.
The report could influence sentiment toward a bill already under fire from Democrats and some Republicans, especially if it suggests the legislation would reduce the number of Americans with health coverage or worsen U.S. budget deficits.
Republicans have long opposed Obamacare, formally called the Affordable Care Act, on the grounds it was government overreach and led to higher insurance premiums. The 2010 law, Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, provided 20 million previously uninsured Americans with health coverage.
Trump has called Obamacare a “disaster” and made its repeal and replacement a key campaign pledge.
Several Republican lawmakers said on Sunday the replacement bill was unacceptable in its current form, including conservative Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who said the plan could not pass the Senate and could put the Republican House majority at risk in 2018 congressional elections.
“I believe it would have adverse consequences for millions of Americans and it wouldn’t deliver on our promises to reduce the cost of health insurance for Americans,” Cotton said.
In a series of television interviews, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said the CBO was focusing on the wrong metrics with the estimates it will provide on the number of people who are insured. Cohn and Mulvaney said the CBO should instead should analyze whether patients can actually afford to go to a doctor.