In Washington, Republican leaders are trying to salvage their health insurance plan after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected it would leave more Americans uninsured than before Obamacare was enacted.
“The CBO report raises some serious concerns,” said Sen. Ted Cruz.
GOP opposition to the GOP plan mounted on Tuesday after congressional number crunchers projected that the party’s Obamacare replacement bill would add 24 million people to the ranks of the uninsured.
“Obviously in a state like mine that had Medicaid expansion, we have deep concerns,” said Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
Republican leaders were reluctant to call it a setback.
“We’re going to do our thing and pass it,” said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But the White House said it is working with House Speaker Paul Ryan on some changes.
“We are obviously in talks with House leadership,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.
One flashpoint: The CBO’s finding that premium costs for some low-income older Americans would spike 750 percent. That’s not an easy sell back home for lawmakers like Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.
“CBO scores are rarely, if ever right,” Jenkins said at a town hall.
Democrats like Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey were unsympathetic:
“This is what happens when you don’t work on a problem for many years and you try to slap something together in a matter of weeks,” Casey said.
GOP leaders like Missouri’s Roy Blount downplayed the drop in coverage.
“The Congressional Budget Office is notoriously bad at determining what’s going to happen in a marketplace,” Blount.
And, they note, the CBO did find some upsides.
“Lower taxes. Lower deficits,” McConnell said.
“It sounds like you’re saying that the parts of the CBO analysis you like are accurate, and the parts you don’t like are flawed,” CBS News’ Nancy Cordes asked him.
“That’s not what I was saying,” McConnell said with a little laugh. “I pointed out the part I think is an accurate reflection of the tax reduction. It’s pretty hard to predict coverage when the government stops telling you you have to buy something you don’t want.”
One of the bill’s authors says GOP leaders are mulling changes to the plan’s tax credits -- but some GOP members are not waiting around. Tuesday evening, a Florida lawmaker became the latest to say she’s voting no because she’s worried her constituents will lose coverage.