House Speaker Paul Ryan enthusiastically praised the Congressional Budget Office report on the "American Health Care Act," the Republican bill intended to replace Obamacare, despite many criticizing the bill because of the findings. He made the comments Monday to Bret Baier on Fox News.
"The reaction early on, on the Hill," said Baier, "it's a little stunned at the number of people who would be uninsured, saying that 24 million by 2026 would be uninsured, relative to the current law. So your reaction on these numbers and what they mean?"
"Well actually I think if you read this entire report," Ryan replied, "I'm pretty encouraged by it, and it actually exceeded my expectations. Bret, Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney there mentioned the estimates before were that 25 million people would be on Obamacare today, less than half of them are.
But look at what they said the reason why they think this uninsured would happen - we're saying that government's not going to force people to buy something they don't want to buy. And if we end an Obamacare mandate that says you must buy this government one-size-fits-all plan, guess what? People aren't gonna buy that.
So of course they're going to suggest that if we're not going to make people do something they don't want to do, they're not gonna do it. That's really what's behind this. What I'm encouraged is, once our reforms kick in, what the CBO is telling us is, it's going to lower premiums. It'll lower premiums 10%. It stabilizes the market. It's a $1.2 trillion spending cut, and 883 billion tax cut and 337 billion dollars in deficit reduction.
"So of course the CBO is going to say," Ryan continued, "if you're not going to force people to buy something they don't want to buy, they won't buy it. But at the same time they're saying, our reforms will kick in and lower premiums and make health care therefore more accessible."
"And by the way the way Bret, I just wanna say one more thing and then I'll stop talking" he added, chuckling. "This is just part one of a three part plan and that's why I'm excited. Just this, they say, lowers premiums, stabilizes the market, gives people more choice and freedom. Part two is Tom Price at HHS, brings more choice and competition, lets the states open up markets which will lower prices even more. And part three are the other bills that we will be passing: interstate shopping across state lines, association of health care plans to let people bulk buy insurance nation-wide, medical liability reform. Those will drop premiums even further, and make health care even more accessible, than what CBO is saying in an encouraging way already will."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2017
Fox News ran a graphic pointing out what others considered to be pretty bad news for the bill - the numbers that are estimated to be without insurance on this replacement bill.
Fox News graphic on the "American Health Care Act." Image Source: Twitter Video.
Ryan added that Obamacare is a "middle of a collapse," and related those health care insurers that pulled out of the program while outlining how many Americans had only one option for health care. "So put this against the backdrop that obamacare is collapsing, the insurers are telling us the premium increases we got just this year from Obamacare, 25% on average, will be even higher next year. So, this compared to the status quo is far better," he concluded.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 13, 2017
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) slammed the bill after the CBO assessment came out, saying that it was "immoral" and "indecent." President Trump has backed the replacement bill, even as conservative Republicans slam it as "Obamacare lite" for not replacing as much of the original bill that they wanted. Paul Ryan earlier called the replacement bill an "act of mercy" for the "nightmare of Obamacare."