Fact Checking Trump’s Remarks on Health Care

Seeking to put some presidential muscle behind the Senate’s troubled attempt to repeal Obamacare, President Donald Trump on Monday touted the benefits of an upcoming replacement bill. NBC News fact checked the president’s remarks during an event with what the White House called “victims” of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s what he got right, and wrong.

Trump: “The Senate is very close to the votes it needs to pass a replacement.”

Senate Republican leaders say they are planning to hold a vote to start debate on a health care bill on Tuesday. But nobody is sure what bill they’ll be asked to support on a final vote: The most recent Senate bill proposed by leadership ran aground after four GOP senators announced they would oppose it.

If they can’t agree on a replacement, Senators may instead vote on a bill to repeal Obamacare after two years without naming a replacement, but three Republican senators also oppose that approach, enough to block its passage as well.

Trump: “The problem is we have zero help from the Democrats. They’re obstructionists, that’s all they are.”

As the president mentioned, Republicans don’t need Democratic votes to pass a bill. Senate leaders never made a significant effort to court them, relying instead on small working groups of Republicans to craft a bill behind closed doors.

Democratic leaders have said they are willing to work on health care so long as Republicans drop plans for any legislation that substantially repeals Obamacare or reduces Medicaid spending. A number of Democratic senators have instead offered to work on modest tweaks to Obamacare, like a bill that would allow people in counties without an insurer to buy from the same exchange as members of Congress.

Trump: The Senate bill “will provide emergency relief for the laws’ victims.”

The latest Senate GOP bill — although there is no final version yet — contained $158 billion in funding that states could use for a variety of purposes, like lowering premiums, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

However, the money is temporary and more than offset by reductions in spending elsewhere: The measure would reduce spending on subsidies to purchase private insurance and lower deductibles by $396 billion over a decade and reduce spending on Medicaid by $756 billion over a decade in comparison to Obamacare.

Trump: “The Senate bill protects coverage for pre-existing conditions.”

Fact checking this statement is made harder by the fact there is no final bill. But it’s expected that any replacement will include a proposal by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell less-regulated plans that could charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or block them from joining — two practices that are banned under Obamacare.




Image: Senate Lawmakers Address The Press After Their Weekly Policy Luncheons

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) talks to reporters last week. McConnell said there are not enough votes for his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act but he plans on introducing legislation that would simply repeal Obamacare.