Nearly 32 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2026 under a plan by Republican senators to repeal Obamacare, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Even as President Trump took the GOP lawmakers to task for their failure to close the deal on a repeal bill, the nonpartisan government committee sounded the health care alarm, warning Americans of the consequences of pulling the plug on the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
“The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 17 million in 2018, compared with the number under current law,” according to a CBO report.
“That number would increase to 27 million in 2020, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and the elimination of subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces established by the ACA, and then to 32 million in 2026.”
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Hours earlier, Trump had Republican senators over for lunch Wednesday to discuss health care — and he chewed them out.
Trump tossed threats at reluctant Republicans during his last-ditch effort to rally support for the GOP health care bill that has repeatedly failed to win over its own party.
He even endangered their August recess, telling the lawmakers they shouldn’t leave for vacation until they finally nail down a plan.
“For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare,” Trump told the senators at the White House lunch.
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“People are hurting. Inaction is not an option. And frankly I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan.”
The Senate scheduled to take off the entire month of August, and seems poised to do so without passing a health care bill. It already missed an earlier goal to take a vote before a shorter July 4 recess.
At the lunch, Trump made a target out of Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who has opposed the bill — and happened to be seated next to the President.
“He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” Trump said about Heller, who faces a steep reelection vote next year.
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Trump said Republicans who halt the bill are endorsing Obamacare, which Trump and many congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace.
“Any senator who votes against debate is really telling America that you’re fine with Obamacare,” he said.
Trump assured he was waiting “pen in hand,” ready to sign whatever health care reform Congress manages to pass.
The menacing meeting came days after several Republican defections killed any chance of the latest Obamacare replacement bill passing.
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After the lunch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the Senate will be voting next week “to proceed” with the Obamacare repeal, but he did not specify what that means for the fate of the bill. McConnell earlier this week supported the Senate repealing the law even without a replacement. Three Republican senators have already said they would not support that effort.
Despite Trump’s tough talk at the lunch, he has thus far had little personal involvement in the reform effort, leaving McConnell to lead the cause.
Trump spent most of this past weekend at one of his golf courses, placing one call to Utah Sen. Mike Lee to try swaying him in favor for the bill. Two days later, Lee joined Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran in a joint statement announcing their opposition — and dealing the final blow to the bill.
Trump has scolded Lee and Moran for their choice, but on Wednesday he seemed unaware of their standing in the Senate.
He warned that the two senators “might not be (around) very much longer,” seemingly unaware that both men were reelected to six-year terms last year.
Since the reform effort crumbled this week, Trump has repeatedly flipped on what he wants to see next. He called for a repeal and replace at the lunch, but just days earlier advocated Republicans repealing Obamacare now and replacing it eventually — a move that would leave millions of Americans indefinitely without insurance.
Trump also said in a tweet he would be fine with letting Obamacare “fail” and letting the Democrats “own it” — another option that would leave millions uninsured.
Trump’s mixed messages mirror his unclear stance on the bill itself. Trump blasted one recent version of the bill as “mean” and insufficiently funded just days after praising it. He also celebrated the House passing a version of the bill in May that the Senate immediately deemed unusable.
Most health industry experts have said Obamacare, while troubled by rate hikes and imbalanced coverage in some states, is not likely to collapse.
The White House also continues to support Obamacare in some ways, though it has warned that could end soon.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday the government will continue to provide “cost sharing” subsidies to insurers for low-income consumers this month. But she said the status of those payments is “undetermined beyond that.”
Trump ran on a promise to “quickly” repeal and replace Obamacare with a “terrific” new plan, without detailing said plan on the campaign trail. But the reform effort has morphed into perhaps his biggest legislative failure so far, with a GOP-controlled Congress unable to pass its own legislation.
Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office on versions of the bill have consistently said the new legislation would strip coverage from more than 20 million Americans.
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