First they demanded participation trophies. Now, they’re whining that the ref is totally unfair.
Coddled millennial snowflakes? Nope. Members of the Trump administration.
Perhaps the worst sports in America, White House officials refuse to accept that their health-care plan is a huge, stinking, hopeless failure.
Or in more Trumpian terms: a loser.
A month ago, House Republicans — at the White House’s urging — shoved a terrible health-care bill through to a vote. They did so without knowing how much it would cost, how many people would lose insurance under the bill, whether it would meet Senate rules required for a budget reconciliation vote or even what was in the legislation. Some legislators admitted that they had not read it before voting.
This collective ignorance was deliberate. They didn’t want to know the verdict on any of these matters, because if they did, they might have to admit to the public — and to themselves — that they’d come up short. Better to celebrate that they did something than learn how shoddy that something was.
Then, once they passed a bill of unknown quality or consequences, they threw themselves a party.
In the political equivalent of awarding themselves a ribbon just for showing up, White House officials and Republican representatives hugged and cheered in the Rose Garden. They asked the country to celebrate their own gutless underachievement.
A month later, thanks to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, we know what a failure their celebrated plan actually is.
According to the CBO’s best estimates, Trumpcare would cause the number of uninsured to rise by an estimated 23 million in 2026, relative to what would happen if Obamacare were kept as is.
What about those lucky enough to remain insured? If they’re sick, old or poor, they’re going to need more luck than that.
That’s because the bill slashes their health-care subsidies, both for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. It also allows states to opt out of key Obamacare provisions designed to protect these vulnerable groups. States could allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, for example, or to stop covering prescription drugs and chronic disease management services.
The result is that premiums for these groups would skyrocket, the coverage they receive would be worse, or both.
So what’s the White House’s response to these ugly estimates? Not to say sorry, we goofed, and we’ll make sure the Senate does better.
Instead, the administration is claiming that the CBO — whose director was handpicked two years ago by now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price — simply can’t be trusted.
When the CBO score came out, the White House first bad-mouthed the institution as inaccurate, bumbling, incompetent. (Some of this may be projection.)
“History has proven the CBO to be totally incapable of accurately predicting how healthcare legislation will impact health insurance coverage,” a White House statement said. This claim ignores analyses showing that the CBO’s Obamacare forecasts, however imprecise, were more accurate than those from competing forecasters.
Now the administration alleges that the CBO budget wonks are not incompetents but cunning conspirators.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney accused the agency of rigging its analysis.
“It’s almost as if they went into it and said, ‘Okay, we need this score to look bad. How do we do it?’ ” he said.
Ignoring the fact that his own Cabinet colleague chose the top CBO official, Mulvaney suggested that an agency underling might be a Democratic mole. He pointed out that one of the leaders on the agency’s health-care team had once been a health-care analyst in the Clinton administration and more recently helped score the Affordable Care Act. She has always, however, been a career civil servant, never a political appointee.
Not that that stopped Mulvaney’s paranoid machinations.
“If the same person is doing the score of undoing Obamacare who did the scoring of Obamacare in the first place, my guess is that there is probably some sort of bias in favor of a government mandate,” he said.
Mulvaney argued that his own office could produce a better and fairer analysis, though he conveniently omitted the fact that it has so far declined to do so.
Such tantrums are consistent with what we’ve seen from both candidate and now President Trump: claims of a rigged system, persecution and victimhood, and a refusal to take responsibility for failure and to pledge to do better.
In other words, Trump’s snowflakery appears contagious. Maybe Mulvaney and colleagues should get that checked out.
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