ST. PETERSBURG — We talked with you about this all day on Facebook-- the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Hundreds of you have questions and concerns after a report found that millions could lose their coverage under the new Republican plan. We’re breaking down the bill and whether the projected numbers can be trusted.
Here’s a campaign promise from Donald Trump: You will not lose health care coverage, and the coverage you have will be better than it is now.
"Everybody's gotta be covered, this is an un-Republican thing for me to say, because a lot of times they say 'No, no, the lower percent they can't afford anything,” Mr. Trump told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes back in 2015.
"I am going to take care of everybody, I don't care if it costs me votes or not, everybody is going to be taken care of, much better than they're being taking care of now."
PELLEY: "The uninsured person."
PELLEY: "Is going to be taken care of…how? How?"
TRUMP: "I'm going to make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people."
Under the current GOP plan, that claim is false. The Congressional Budget Office, also known as the CBO, released what Republicans will certainly see as a dark account of the proposed American Health Care Act.
It says 24 million people will lose health care coverage over the next 10 years under this plan.
Fourteen million are expected to lose their insurance, or simply choose not to buy it, in 2018 if this becomes law. The bill would eliminate the mandate that everyone must buy insurance or face a fine.
The CBO says that means insurance premiums would go up 15-20 percent next year.
The plan would make big cuts to programs like Medicaid that help people with low incomes get coverage.
But before you say, “Ok, these Washington number crunchers are pushing an agenda,” the people who compile these reports are legit.
“The people in the CBO are professionals,” said political strategist Barry Edwards. “They're professional economists, professional attorneys, professional CPAs. And their job is to (interpret) the data as best they can.
"Now, both sides are giving them information from think tanks and so forth that have higher estimates and lower estimates. They're trying to be professional and pick a mid point.”
And while his aides are working to undercut the legitimacy of the CBO, the president himself has tweeted time and time again that using the CBO as a credible source.
Here's what WILL put a smile on President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan's faces: Even though millions fewer would be insured, the CBO says people who do stick it out over the next few years would see premiums go down to 10 percent lower than under Obamacare.
And they estimate it will save $337 billion from the federal budget deficit.
Yes, the the Congressional Budget Office has been wrong before - it was off by millions estimating Obamacare enrollments - but it's still the best estimate we have of what the new plan will truly cost.
If you’d like to read the full CBO report, click here.
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