The White House’s exceedingly dishonest attack on the Congressional Budget Office

The Trumpcare misinformation campaign continues.

CREDIT: screengrab
CREDIT: screengrab

On Wednesday afternoon, the Trump administration trashed the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in an attempt to undercut its dire analysis of Trumpcare.

The White House’s official Twitter account posted a tweet that says, “The Congressional Budget Office’s math doesn’t add up. Faulty Numbers = Faulty Results.”

The White House fleshed out its anti-CBO case in a video that contains some very basic errors. (The original tweet was deleted and a corrected version of the video was later posted.)

Misspellings aside, the Trump administration argument is that the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare was off, and therefore, its conclusion that Trumpcare will cause more than 20 million Americans to lose coverage over the next decade can’t be trusted.


“CBO inaccurately estimated 25 million would be covered under Obamacare this year,” the video says. “Today, just 10.3 million are covered in Obamacare exchanges. Off by over 14 million.”

“It does not matter who does the math,” the video concludes. “Faulty numbers = faulty results.”

The video echoes a talking point White House officials have used for months. When the first version of the Trumpcare bill was unveiled in March, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney tried to discredit the CBO before it even had a chance to release its analysis of the bill, arguing on ABC’s This Week that the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare was inaccurate.

It wasn’t. concluded that despite overestimating the number of people who who get subsidized insurance through ACA exchanges and underestimating the number who would gain coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion, the CBO “actually nailed the overall impact of the law on the uninsured pretty closely.”

The CBO “predicted a big drop in the percentage of people under age 65 who would lack insurance, and that turned out to be the case,” wrote. “CBO projected that in 2016 that nonelderly rate would fall to 11 percent, and the latest figure put the actual rate at 10.3 percent.”


Not only is the White House’s criticism of the CBO based on a misleading critique of its Obamacare projection, but the video completely overlooks that a White House analysis of the House version of Trumpcare forecast even more drastic coverage losses than the CBO.

“The preliminary analysis from the Office of Management and Budget forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million [the] CBO estimates,” Politico reported in March, citing a document obtained by the publication. White House officials told Politico that the document wasn’t an analysis of the bill, but was instead meant to forecast the CBO’s projection by mimicking its methodology.

Misinformation campaign

Wednesday’s tweet is far from the first time Trump administration officials and Trumpcare-supporting Republicans have mangled the facts while making a case for what is effectively a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as a health care bill.

On Monday, the White House Office of the Press Secretary distributed an email blast aimed at persuading people that Obamacare is broken. The email reprints an Associated Press report about how the number of American adults without health insurance has grown by about 2 million this year, but conveniently deletes a number of paragraphs from the article outlining the disastrous impact Trumpcare would have compared to current law.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price posted a tweet suggesting that the same Trumpcare bill that would strip Medicaid coverage from 15 million Americans by 2026 somehow isn’t a cut to Medicaid.

Late last month, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that uninsured Americans “need relief” and suggested Trumpcare is the solution, despite the fact that the bill would nearly double the number of people without insurance. In its analysis of the Senate version of the bill, the CBO concluded that Trumpcare’s massive cuts to Medicaid coupled with a reduction in federal subsidies and allowing insurance companies to sell plans that cover less would produce a state of affairs where “few low-income people would purchase any plan.”