Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Paul Ryan objects to key CBO claim, but here’s why he’s still wrong

People will be economically forced into refusing insurance under “TrumpCare” plan

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is having a tough time selling his healthcare proposal.

That’s because the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the bill, officially titled the American Health Care Act, would leave 14 million additional individuals out of insurance coverage by 2018. That number increases to 24 million by 2026.

But Ryan is stubbornly defending his Republican Party’s proposal for replacing Obamacare. And he doesn’t worry about those individuals losing coverage because the CBO estimates a large portion of those people are going to voluntarily forgo paying for insurance.

"Of course they’re going to say if we stop forcing people to buy something they don’t want to buy they’re not going to buy it," Ryan explained. "That’s why you have these uninsured numbers, which we all expected."

Expected or not, it’s still not good news. Even if people are voluntarily giving up their insurance plans, the reasons why they’re doing so is a symptom of a larger problem.

That problem is simple: these people will not be able to afford insurance coverage. According to the Kaiser Foundation, most people who don’t buy insurance can’t afford to do so. Obamacare sought to correct this problem by offering to subsidize some of the expenses, alleviating the hardships of paying for costly health coverage.

There were still some Americans who couldn’t afford insurance even after those subsidies, and they were generally granted exemptions from the mandate penalty if they could prove their hardships outweighed the ability to pay.

But generally speaking, the GOP health plan will force people out of insurance coverage — even under the guise of conservatives claiming "they're doing so voluntarily."

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin explains it like this:
Ryan continues to insist that if people choose not to buy insurance under the new plan that is no concern of his. However, if they choose not to insure because they can no longer afford to, Ryan will have created the Unaffordable Care Act and stranded millions of people.
Emphasis added.

So to recap: Ryan believes that the 14 million who will lose coverage as a result of this bill will be choosing that route voluntarily. In actuality, they’ll be forced into that choice — without the subsidies that Obamacare offered to them, they’ll likely have to pay much, much more for insurance coverage. Which makes their “voluntary” refusal to buy insurance seem much less voluntary, doesn’t it?

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