The CBO score was long expected to be a tough moment for GOP leaders and other defenders of the plan. They questioned the report’s credibility.
Following the CBO announcement Monday, the White House released a statement lambasting the CBO’s track record. Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue, a close ally on the health care law repeal effort, echoed, “It’s clear the CBO cannot predict the purchasing patterns for millions of Americans.”
In Georgia, Kelly McCutchen, the president of the libertarian-leaning Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was more measured, though he did note some numeric assumptions in the report that he said didn’t bear out. He also cautioned that the Senate had already released at least one revision to the draft that the CBO couldn’t take into account, and it was likely to sway the numbers.
“They generally do a good job,” McCutchen said of the CBO. He said, however, that once that revision is taken into account, “I think you’ll see the uninsured rate will go down.”
Custer, who estimated the Georgia share of the national number, was skeptical that was so. He said it needed more study, though.
McCutchen also noted a provision of the plan that he said would lessen the health spending disparity between Georgia and other states. Georgia is among the lowest in the country for spending per Medicaid enrollee.
On the up side, the plan would lower the deficit by $321 billion, the federal office found. That deficit cut is a small sliver of what would be needed for a meaningful deficit reduction. But the federal deficit has exploded in the past two decades, and spending on wars and entitlements such as Medicaid have been big drivers of that. The CBO also found that the proposal delivers on its goal to cut taxes, mostly for the wealthy.
That, however, helped feed criticism from Jimmy Lewis, the CEO of Hometown Health, a coalition of rural hospitals. “This is a payment system for a tax reform as opposed to the health reform,” Lewis said. “And rural hospitals are going to take it on the chin.”
HEALTH CARE IN THE U.S. AND GEORGIA
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