How Lawmakers Are Responding to the CBO's Slam of Trumpcare

March 13th 2017

Democrats have been putting the Republican health care bill through the proverbial wood chipper after a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that up to 14 million more people could be uninsured by next year due to the legislation — and up to 10 million more could join them over the next decade.

Some critics, like Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), have stressed that the wealthiest Americans will receive billions of dollars in tax cuts while, according to the CBO report released Monday, insurance premiums and the number of uninsured rise. Both of these issues are related to the millions of low-income Americans that would lose their Medicaid coverage under the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA).

In reaction to the CBO numbers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans to put themselves in the shoes of those who voted for Trump.

"Think of yourself as a Trump voter in West Virginia or someplace, or Kentucky, which has really done a good job with the Affordable Care Act, too, thinking ‘I’m going to lose my coverage and they're going to give $7 million to each of the richest families in America every year instead of giving me health care,'" Pelosi said.

Many on the right are also condemning the bill, including the Heritage Foundation, which suggested the plan falls short of the "free market" replacement for Obamacare some had promised. Even Breitbart, a far-right organization popular with white nationalists whose former head is President Trump's chief strategist, also blasted the plan, highlighting the millions more who would be uninsured.

But congressional Republicans are still defending the proposal. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, argued that the CBO report actually confirmed that the bill would “lower premiums & improve access to quality, affordable care.” But lower premiums are only achieved for some younger people because older, sicker individuals would not be able to afford health insurance — and insurance companies, accordingly, would not have to foot the bill for their more expensive care like they do now.

The White House took a more aggressive approach, casting doubt on the CBO report altogether. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, for example, denied that the number of uninsured Americans would rise as drastically as the report predicts, calling the CBO’s evaluation “just not believable.”

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