March 14, 2017
Senate Minority Leader Chuck E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday said the GOP’s ObamaCare replacement proposal is collapsing under its own weight, borrowing an argument from critics of the 2010 healthcare law.
“The bill’s in trouble,” Schumer said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “It’s in trouble in the House; it’s in even more trouble in the Senate; and we Democrats are unified [in opposition].”
As House Republicans push legislation to repeal and replace parts of former President Obama’s signature domestic law, GOP leaders have run into a wall of resistance from several blocs of lawmakers within their own ranks.
A number of conservatives say the plan is merely a watered down version of ObamaCare, granting too great a role for the federal government to sway insurance markets.
And a group of centrists is concerned the tax credits at the center of the GOP plan aren’t generous enough to ensure continued coverage for their constituents now benefiting from ObamaCare’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion, both of which would be eliminated under the Republican legislation.
Aggravating the headache for President Trump and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday released a stunning analysis of the replacement legislation, predicting it would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 14 million next year, and by 24 million over a decade.
Democrats have pounced, putting even more pressure on GOP lawmakers who were wary of the legislation even before the CBO score was released.
“There are, I think, more than 10 Republican senators, some very conservative, some more mainstream, who say they don’t like the bill,” Schumer said.
In the wake of the CBO score, Republican budget hawks are touting elements of the CBO score, notably its estimate that the proposal would reduce the national budget deficit by $337 billion over a decade.
But the Democrats reject that argument, saying the savings aren’t worth the loss of health insurance coverage predicted to result.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the savings would come “at the cost of many lives.”
“They’re saving $33 billion a year … and are cutting off 26 million people from healthcare. It’s just not a good investment,” Pelosi said Tuesday. “Of course you have savings if you cut off millions of people from access to care.”
Schumer said Democrats are ready to work with Republicans to fix those parts of ObamaCare that even supporters acknowledge are failing — but not under the current blueprint.
“Until you take repeal off the table, we can’t support this, because it does so much damage,” he said.
Schumer said not even Republican leaders want their name attached to the legislation.
“Trump wants to call it RyanCare; [Speaker Paul] Ryan [R-Wis.] wants to call it TrumpCare — it’s classic Abbot and Costello,” Schumer charged. “If it’s so good, why don’t they want their names on it?”