WASHINGTON — The Trump administration continued to trash the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday for its analysis of the Republican health care bill, while pledging to work with conservatives who say the proposed replacement of Obamacare includes too much government regulation.
"All of that is part of a comprehensive strategy to engage with members who support us, who have ideas and want to be on board, who want to be constructive in the process and achieve the president's goal of having a patient-centric health care system," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.
President Trump spoke Monday with a series of lawmakers involved in the health care debate, from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. — the main proponent of the current Republican plan — to Texas Republican Sen. Cruz, who protested that premiums would continue to rise under the GOP proposal.
The back-and-forth came a day after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the American Health Care Act would lead to 14 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2018 and 24 million fewer by 2026.
Spicer said the CBO failed to account for future phases of the plan that will reduce government regulations in a way to make insurance policies more available at better prices. The White House also said the budget office is simply guessing at how many people will not seek or be able to afford insurance.
Noting that the CBO is a budget office, Spicer said, "they're pretty good at dollars, not as good at people."
Even if the House passes a new health care bill, it would still have to get through the Senate — and several Republicans have raised questions about the current plan, based on the CBO report and other factors.
"The bill as drafted would not pass the Senate," Cruz said.