KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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CBO Bears Brunt Of Displeasure When Projections Don’t Work In Party’s Favor

Both sides have touted and also tried to knock analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, depending on whether the projections fit their message.

The Associated Press Fact Check: Both Sides Loose With Facts In Health Debate
The Congressional Budget Office report on a Republican health care bill set off an intense reaction in Washington, and some on both sides of the debate are playing loose with the facts. Republicans are overlooking President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver “insurance for everybody,” which the CBO makes clear will not happen if the legislation becomes law. Democrats are assailing Republicans for “attacking the messenger,” seeming to forget all the times they assailed the budget office themselves. (Woodward and Drinkard, 3/14)

USA Today: White House Spokesman Sean Spicer Knocks CBO Report On Obamacare Repeal
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. (Jackson, 3/14)

The Washington Post: Fact-Checking The White House’s Rhetoric On The CBO Report
White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered a number of attacks and claims during a news briefing dominated by the new Congressional Budget Office report on the House Republican replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act. The report estimated that 24 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2026 if the law were approved in its current form, causing political headaches for the effort to replace Obamacare. Here’s a guide to his rhetoric. (Kessler and Lee, 3/14)

Bloomberg: Republicans Picked The CBO Chief. Now They’re Attacking The Office Over Obamacare. 
An hour after the Congressional Budget Office released its dire assessment of the GOP Obamacare plan, Donald Trump’s top health official went on the attack. "We disagree strenuously with the report," Tom Price said. "The CBO report’s coverage numbers defy logic." That initial Republican assault on Monday was the first of many that amounted to dismissing their own scorekeeper. Left unmentioned by Price, Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary: When he was in Congress, he recommended the CBO’s current director, Keith Hall, for the job. Hall took the helm at the CBO in April 2015, chosen by Republican House and Senate leaders to provide advice to a GOP-controlled Congress. (House, 3/14)

In other news, a look at what isn't in the report and the ramifications it had on hospitals —

The Washington Post: 4 Big Things Missing From The CBO Report On Republicans’ Health-Care Bill
Congress’s nonpartisan budget referees on Monday provides the first detailed study of the real-world effects of Republicans’ bill to overhaul health care. The GOP bill, the Congressional Budget Office found, would repeal hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, especially on industry and wealthy households. It would make deep cuts into Medicaid and provide smaller subsidies to people looking to buy health insurance. And after eight years, 24 million more people would be uninsured as a result of the bill. There are a few urgent questions that the CBO report does not address, however. Here’s a look at what we still don’t know. (Ehrenfreund, 3/14)

Reuters: Hospital Stocks Fall After Republican Health Bill Seen Leaving 24 Million Uninsured
Shares of hospitals and health insurers fell on Tuesday after the U.S. Congressional Budget Office forecast that 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under a Republican plan to dismantle Obamacare. Among the hospitals, HCA Holdings slipped 1.6 percent, Tenet Healthcare fell 4.2 percent, Community Health Systems shed 1.5 percent and LifePoint Health was down 1.3 percent. (Davies, Erman, Valetkevitch and Krauskopf, 3/14)

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