House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday said that he was “pretty encouraged” by the new Congressional Budget Office report regarding the GOP repeal and replace legislative effort.
The reported projected that the number of uninsured would increase by 14 million over the next year, by 2018 under the Obamacare replacement plan. That number would balloon to 24 million by 2026.
“I think if you read this entire report, I’m pretty encouraged by it,” Ryan said on Monday in an appearance on Fox News. “And it actually exceeded my expectations.”
The losses projected by the CBO report are due to the proposed changes in Medicaid. Specifically, the House GOP bill ends the federal funds provided by the Affordable Care Act for the expansion of Medicaid and also caps the total amount of federal spending for the program.
Ryan addressed the number of uninsured by essentially admitting to it. “We’re saying the government’s not going to force people to buy something that they don’t want to buy,” he said. “And if we end an Obamacare mandate that says you must buy this government one size fits all plan, guess what? People aren’t going to buy that.”
Most critics of Ryan’s position point to the fact that the decision not to buy health insurance is not commonly because an individual simply does not want the coverage — it is because they cannot afford the coverage.
Ryan said that the CBO is saying that if the government is not going to “make people do something they don’t want to do, they’re not going to buy it.”
“But at the same time, they’re saying our reforms will kick in and lower premiums and make healthcare therefore more accessible,” he said.
“This is just part 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,” adding that Obamacare is in the “middle of a collapse,” something that is hotly contested by many experts and lawmakers.
“This, compared to the status quo is far better. I’m excited about this analysis,” the Wisconsin Republican said.
“And yeah, I think they sort of overestimated the uninsured number, just like they overestimated who would be insured by ObamaCare, but I do believe that if we’re not going to force people to buy something they don’t want to buy, they won’t buy it, and that’s kind of obvious.”
He added that the CBO report “gives us even more room to work on to make good fine tuning, finishing touches on this bill.”