White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely stated that the healthcare bill from House Speaker Paul Ryan represents what will eventually be a full repeal of Obamacare. Yet, the GOP bill–which has been panned by many conservatives and dubbed “Obamacare 2.0”–keeps key elements of Obamacare in place.
When asked about this at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon by the Washington Examiner’s Sarah Westwood, Spicer inaccurately stated that if this bill were to be signed into law it would constitute a repeal of Obamacare. Repealing Obamacare was a top campaign promise made by President Donald Trump in 2016.
“If this is the policy that passes, is President Trump confident in the future that he can say that he fully repealed Obamacare?” Westwood asked Spicer.
“Yeah, absolutely, as I mentioned, I mean, the first half of the bill that we put forward repeals it,” Spicer replied. “There are three things, I mean, each phase that we’ve talked about—phase one, phase two, and phase three—there’s a repeal and replace aspect with each one.”
Yet, the bill proposed on Monday night certainly does not represent a full repeal of Obamacare.
It has been called by conservative critics Obamacare 2.0 because the bill keeps in place the Obamacare requirements that insurers allow for coverage of pre-existing conditions and allows children to stay on their parents’ health care until they’re 26-years-old. It shifts the individual mandate from being a tax paid to the government to a penalty paid to insurance companies, does not even address the Medicaid issue in states effectively, helps illegal aliens access healthcare in the system, and it does not allow for purchasing of insurance across state lines as Republicans have promised for years—among many, many other problems.
Specifically on the Medicaid front, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) says that the bill “misses the mark” in terms of rolling back the entitlement. FGA said in a release:
Freezing enrollment in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is critical to protecting taxpayers and freeing up resources for the truly needy. This is a politically popular solution that would save taxpayers more than $600 billion over the next decade. Unfortunately, the current draft does not stop new states from expanding ObamaCare and does not freeze enrollment in existing expansions. The draft does not even give states the statutory authority to implement their own enrollment freezes.
Spicer, reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, told Breitbart News, “I don’t care” when told this bill does not constitute a full Obamacare repeal.
“I don’t care. Again, that’s your—that’s not what the president thinks. That’s not what Tom Price thinks. That’s not what Mick Mulvaney thinks. So, say what you will, but that’s the reality of this,” Spicer said.
When told that Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, actually did say the bill was not final–and described it as a “work in progress” and not a final full repeal of Obamacare–Spicer agreed with Secretary Price.
“Right, it’s going through the process. It goes through regular order,” Spicer said.
Spicer added, too, that the issues of things like dealing with Medicaid, the purchasing of insurance across state lines, and more will happen in future phases.
“There are three phases to this,” Spicer said. “There are certain things we can do in phase one and certain things we can do in phase two and certain things we can do in phase three.”