Why this N.J. lawmaker is backing analysts he blasted in Obamacare fight

Rep. Tom MacArthur dissented from efforts by conservative Republicans to cut the agency's budget.

Rep. Tom MacArthur questioned the analyses by the GOP-led Congressional Budget Office that refuted Republican claims that their alternative to the Obamacare would expand coverage, lower premiums and protect those with pre-existing conditions.

MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.), who played a major role in the repeal effort, went so far as to question the accuracy of the CBO, the nonpartisan agency that serves as the official scorekeeper for all legislation. The agency is run by Keith Hall, a former member of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and a critic of the existing health care law.

"Let's remember the CBO is a group of auditors," MacArthur said in May. "They're trying to predict things 10 years out in advance. They're trying to predict what states are going to do. I think that's impossible."

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But when members of the Freedom Caucus, the most conservative Republican lawmakers, sought to cut the CBO's budget and eliminate its analysts, MacArthur voted no.

So did all other 11 House members from New Jersey of both parties.

"I disagree strongly with how they've approached health care but I still respect their role," MacArthur said. "Without CBO, Congress would be left looking to special interests for our information. I don't want that either."

He said his problem with the agency was that he didn't believe it had the data to make certain projections, such as forecasting that states that haven't expanded Medicaid will decide to do so. 

"I think they have made some previous mistakes on health care and they're trying to answer questions with finality that cannot be answered," MacArthur said. "I'm not interested in punishing them. I'm interested in them using a more sound method of evaluating things. Then I then i can live with the results whatever they are."

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Article Why this N.J. lawmaker is backing analysts he blasted in Obamacare fight compiled by www.nj.com

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