Trump warns that a no vote on healthcare reform bill says 'you're fine with the Obamacare nightmare'
President Donald Trump, with families behind him representing "Obamacare victims," warned Republican senators: "Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare."
Families from Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia represented households frustrated by their experiences in the individual insurance market. Their appearance with Trump at the White House was held the day before the Senate is to take a pivotal vote in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The Senate needs 50 votes on a motion to proceed to debate, so, as Trump noted, virtually every Republican has to agree. "Not easy to do," he said.
Trump said that Obamacare was passed by "a small group of politicians and special interests in Washington," and that every promise Democrats made about what it would do "was a big, fat lie."
He claimed that the Republican solution "will deliver truly great healthcare and healthcare reforms." He said the new law would significantly lower premiums and give states far more choice and far more flexibility to run Medicaid.
Independent, nonpartisan analysts in the Congressional Budget Office said that under the current proposed bill, premiums will go up faster than under Obamacare in the near term because more healthy people would drop out of the market with no mandate to buy insurance. They also say that while premiums would eventually be lower than if Obamacare stayed in place, those plans would cover less, with much higher deductibles. Those projections are only if an amendment to bring back medical underwriting isn't in the bill. If it is, the CBO said, the individual insurance marketplace would collapse.
Moreover, because premium subsidies are less generous to older customers, and cost-sharing goes away for the poorest customers, plans would become out of reach for millions, the CBO said.
Trump complained that Democrats describe the bill as "death, death, death."
"Obamacare is the one that's death. And besides that, it's failing, so you won't have it anyway. "
Two of the families that complained that Obamacare premiums tripled, or that the policies wouldn't cover serious illnesses in the families ended up on Medicaid after time in the individual market. That option would not be available to hundreds of thousands of adults in their states under the bill being considered, because the enhanced federal match for the Medicaid expansion would phase out.
One family, from South Carolina, has a son with spina bifida. Trump said they were hurt by Obama's initial promise that people who purchased coverage on the marketplace would be able to keep seeing their doctors. Each year, Marjorie Weer "anxiously waits to see" if her doctor will remain in network, Trump said.
Local coverage of the Weers' anger over Obamacare has documented the family's efforts to take their child to Boston for treatment. Going out of state would be discouraged by many commercial group plans, as well.
Trump said Republicans' choice is "to side with Obamacare's architects or with its forgotten victims."
He said some Americans are demanding that Obamacare be repealed. "You'll see that at the voting booth, believe me."
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