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Why the White House is waging war against an obscure group of numbers crunchers


THE THREE most boring words in the English language might be congressional, budget and office, although some have argued for the phrase “worthwhile Canadian initiative.” Despite its somnolent name, the Congressional Budget Office is in the middle of a rancorous debate over President Donald Trump’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. The CBO, an independent, bipartisan arm of Congress filled with economists and other wonks, analyzes legislation, estimating how much a law might cost the federal government and the people affected by it.

In the case of the American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare,” as some are now calling it, the CBO came to some stunning conclusions. Far from fulfilling Trump’s promise to cover everyone—and at less of a cost—it found that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 than if the country had stuck with Obamacare. Prices would soar for older Americans, who would lose subsidies provided under the current system, along with protections limiting what insurers could charge them before they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

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