On Wednesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that the roughly 28 million Americans without health insurance “need relief” and suggested Trumpcare was the solution.
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) June 28, 2017
Spicer’s tweet echoes comments Vice President Mike Pence made to Department of Health and Human Services employees earlier this month.
“Obamacare itself has woefully fallen short of its goal to cover the American people,” he said.
What Spicer and Pence aren’t telling people is that the House and Senate versions of Trumpcare would result in somewhere between 22 and 23 million Americans losing their health insurance over the next decade, compared to Obamacare. On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis showing that the Senate version of the bill would cause 15 million people to become uninsured in 2018 alone.
Using data from the CBO, the Washington Post put together a graphic showing how Trumpcare would dramatically increase the number of uninsured people over the next decade.
Instead of providing “relief” for the uninsured, Trumpcare would make obtaining coverage more difficult by reducing federal subsidies, dramatically slashing Medicare, and allowing insurers to sell skimpy plans that don’t cover basic services like hospitalizations and maternity care. But that hasn’t prevented administration officials and Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) from posturing.
Obamacare has left about 30M uninsured and individual market is in a death spiral. What do Ds do? Absolutely nothing.
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) May 25, 2017
But if Cornyn were really concerned about uninsured people, he could push his home state of Texas — a state with the highest uninsured percentage in the country — to expand Medicaid. Instead, he’s thrown his support behind a bill that would make the problem even worse.
The disingenuousness of the “Obamacare isn’t doing enough for the uninsured” talking point is revealed by how the Trump administration is actively trying to destabilize Obamacare exchanges. During an off-camera press briefing on Monday, Spicer made clear that the White House is willing to use low-income Americans’ health insurance as a bargaining chip by not committing to making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments low-income people used to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.
“If the president were to hypothetically say he’s going to make the payments in perpetuity or for a year, I think that continues to prop up a failed system and continues to do wrong by the American taxpayer and it also doesn’t lend itself to the expediency that I think we want to help get a new health care system in place,” Spicer said.
Trump himself alluded to the chaos ending the CSR payments would sow in insurance markets in a tweet earlier Monday in which he threatened to let Obamacare “crash & burn!”
Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats. Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2017
More than 7 million Americans use the CSR subsidies to buy health insurance, but Trump is prioritizing scoring political points over their coverage.
While Trump has repeatedly claimed that Obamacare is “dead,” “broken, “will explode,” and is “a complete and total disaster,” the CBO recently concluded it’s more stable than the president would have you believe. In a report released in March, the CBO wrote that Obamacare exchanges are likely to “be stable in most areas.”
“The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable,” the CBO wrote, debunking notions that Obamacare is in the sort of “death spiral” that the Senate Republican plan would likely produce.