Sean Spicer, the press secretary of the White House, spent an hour frantically defending the new health care plan after a study conducted by Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan outfit, made an adverse prediction. The CBO said that in case the legislation to substitute the Affordable Care Act is passed by the House Republicans, the number of non-insured people will rise to about 24 million by 2026. The outgoing ACA came into force in 2010.
Spicer and CBO
The White House spokesperson told reporters that the coverage estimates by the CBO are consistently wrong. He said that the estimate did not take into account the exhaustive nature of this plan to substitute Obamacare with American Healthcare Act. He, however, accepted the forecast made by the CBO that the move will lead to a deficit reduction of approximately $330 billion. Premiums for health insurance will reduce by 10 percent.
Spicer vehemently defended the new scheme, saying that it is estimated by the CBO that only 24 million Americans will enjoy the coverage, and about 50 percent or 13 million people will not. He went on to further claim that the insurance covered only 10.4 million people, amid reports suggesting, he pointed out, that the number has reduced to only nine million individuals.
When reporters asked Spicer whether Trump will guarantee health care to every American, the spokesperson continued his attack on ACA. He claimed that the plan compelled people to purchase plans they hated. He claimed that from about 30 million probable users, about 6.5 million of them decided to pay penalties rather than taking health insurance. Furthermore, he said, almost 14 million had made an application for the hardship exemption.
The American Healthcare Act has been roundly condemned by Democrats, members of American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and even by a few Republicans. A number of conservative interest groups are also against the plan. One critic, Jonathan Gruber of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a contributor to the making of ACA, has said that Trump’s plan is a scam. Spicer has dismissed all such arguments.
It did not help that many Republican lawmakers themselves criticized the plan. Bill Cassidy, a Republican Senator from Louisiana, and a physician himself said that it is a shock that 14 million Americans will lose insurance within a year relative to the baseline. He said that the GOP should be concerned about this statistic.