If you haven’t seen OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in action, do yourself a favor and watch the video here. On today’s Morning Joe, Mulvaney showed himself to be smart, well-spoken, undefensive and down-to-earth as he systematically demolished Mika’s, and by extension, the CBO’s, claims about the Trump admin’s health care proposal.

Before Mulvaney appeared, the panel had engaged in extended hand-wringing over the loss of coverage that the CBO has projected. Mulvaney made three telling points:

  • The CBO has a bad track record when it comes to projecting coverage. Just three years ago, the CBO predicted that 24 million people would be covered today under Obamacare exchanges. The true number: 11.5 million, less than half the CBO’s forecast.
  • Most tellingly, Mulvaney made the distinction between “coverage” and “care.” Dems focus on coverage. But he gave the example of a family of relatively modest means that is “covered” with an Obamacare plan. But given the annual deductible of $12-15,000, that family can’t afford actual care. He said the focus under the Trump proposal is on actually delivering care to people.
  • Finally, he gave an example of an unrealistic assumption that the CBO made in coming to its coverage projections. The CBO assumes that once the new health plan is implemented, people on Medicaid will drop that free coverage and seek coverage under the new plan. Mulvaney: “that makes no sense.”

Note: as the winter storm in DC could be seen swirling in the background, Mulvaney began with a light-hearted jab: “happy to be here on a beautiful warm, sunny, day. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it’s sunny and 74 outside.” The screencap shows Mika turning to check the accuracy of the CBO weather forecast, as Kasie Hunt and Mark Halperin share a chuckle.