The Congressional Budget Office offered a mixed review of the GOP's American Health Care Act plan to repeal and replace Obamacare on Monday. While the CBO score predicted it would lower premiums in the long run and stabilize the markets, predictions which House Speaker Paul Ryan chose to highlight, the agency also foresaw 14 million people losing their insurance by 2018.
House leaders like Kevin McCarthy responded to the more sinister parts of the report by noting this is only the first phase of their plan. The CBO is not able to paint a full picture because "they're not able to see the second and third phase" yet of the AHCA, he said on Fox News Tuesday morning.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of many skeptical Republicans, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the three-phase process is a myth. What we see right now is what we get.
"Hugh, there is no three-phase process," Cotton said. "There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control."
McCarthy rejected Cotton's presumptions.
"The three-phase plan is not a myth," he insisted on Tuesday, noting they have to go through reconciliation.
The health care plan passed both the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees and will next enter the Budget committee and eventually reach the floor.