The Republican health care plan is struggling to overcome a tough Congressional Budget Office score, which estimated it would remove 14 million people from health insurance coverage. The law would save the federal government over $300 billion, in large part because fewer people will be getting care subsidized by the government. Additionally, the CBO estimates that premiums will rise dramatically in the initial two years of the law—as healthier people who don’t want insurance drop off the rolls— before declining afterward. The GOP can’t quite get its message straight on the score. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan touted the score as a positive development, while over at the White House, HHS Secretary Tom Price told reporters, “We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out.” In any event, the CBO only scored “Phase 1” of what the GOP claims is a three-phase plan, with the final two phases respectively involving regulatory changes and the passage of new legislation with a 60-vote majority threshold in the Senate. But the CBO only scores legislation, and Republicans have been largely silent on what their complete legislative package would look like—and many Republicans doubt they’ll ever get the change to complete “Phase 3.”

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, a Trump ally who has become a critic of the legislation, explained it as follows to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning: “There is no three-phase process. 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…