As expected, the Congressional Budget Office on Monday released its assessment of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Also as expected, some rank-and-file members of the GOP are nervous already because it might cover 14 million fewer Americans than are covered now.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Republican majority, you all need to relax, compose yourselves, steel your spine and go about your mandate to get rid of the Affordable Care Act as promised, because frankly, a read through the CBO’s analysis did not reveal any bombshells or unanticipated results.
Let’s dispense with the most obvious Democratic Party talking point: The GOP bill takes health insurance coverage away from millions of the poorest Americans. (RELATED: President Trump And Congress Should Keep This One Guiding Principle In Mind When “Reforming” Obamacare.)
The bill does indeed roll back Medicaid expansion over the course of 2-3 years, but let’s remember that Obamacare did indeed expand Medicaid to cover Americans earning 130 percent above the federal poverty line. So by definition these folks aren’t the poorest Americans to begin with. Secondly, the gradual drawdown period gives these families and individuals time to find replacement policies, and at more affordable rates thanks to other provisions of the American Health Care Act designed to lower premium costs.
Next talking point: The GOP bill leaves millions more Americans uninsured.
Yes, the CBO assessment did in fact state that up to 14 million more Americans over a period of years would not be covered under any health insurance plan. The Washington Examiner noted, overall some 24 million people would eventually “lose” coverage, but that’s not quite accurate.
Why? Because that figure will no doubt include a large portion of the 29 million Americans who currently are not covered under Obamacare because they have chosen not to be covered. A combination of good health and excessively expensive premiums have led millions of Americans to decide they would rather pay an annual fine than a thousand bucks a month for lousy health care “coverage” they don’t need.
And the reality is, even when premiums go down under the GOP plan of enhanced competition, there will still be millions of young, healthy Americans who will forego the monthly expense of health insurance, opting instead to pay for care as they need it.
But there are other things to like in the CBO’s report that Republicans and the president should seize upon. As The Washington Examiner noted further:
The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare would result in 14 million more people without health coverage next year but reduce federal spending by $337 billion compared to current law, according to an estimate Monday from Congress’ official scorekeeper.
About 24 million people would lose coverage over the next decade under the American Health Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. But the plan would reduce taxes by $883 billion over the next decade.
That’s serious money and frankly, saving Americans that kind of coin in premiums, in actual health care, and in taxes is a triple-header win for voters.
Republicans fraught with fear over repealing and replacing Obamacare should also understand that most Americans are not covered under Medicaid – they either buy their insurance on their own or are provided plans via their employers.
Plus, Medicaid (and Medicare, for that matter) is a ticking fiscal time bomb. No less than the House Speaker himself, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said the country is “hosed” if Congress doesn’t do something to reform the program. (RELATED: Obamacare REPEAL? It’s more like health care system COLLAPSE!)
“I’ve been a big time entitlement reformer for a long time because if you don’t start bending the curve in the out years, we are hosed,” he said in February.
So while there are things conservatives love to hate about the Obamacare reform bill, there is plenty within it to get behind as well. It’s a start. But the most important thing will be preventing critics from claiming that “millions” will lose coverage when a) the bill seeks to prevent that; and b) millions are already without coverage. (Related: Keep up with the latest developments in this debate at Conversative.news.)
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.