The two leaders of Capitol Hill Democrats told reporters Monday they welcomed the scoring report from the Congressional Budget Office, which predicts that the American Health Care Act bill crafted and supported by Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) will leave more Americans without health insurance.
“Speaker Ryan says it is an act of mercy–yes–for those, who make over $250,000, they get big tax cuts, health insurance executives, and wealthy Americans,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who was joined at the press conference by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.). “Everyone else gets the cold shoulder from the Republicans and the president.”
The report from the Congressional Budget Office is part of any budget bill, and by law it needs to carry its projections out for 10 years. Republican leaders are treating the RyanCare bill awaiting consideration by the House Budget Committee as a budget bill to allow it to get through the Senate, where the GOP does not have the 60 votes required to end debate and force a vote. Although Ryan calls the American Health Care Act bill a repeal of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the bill is actually written as an amendment to the PPACA, not a repeal.
“The Republican hand-picked head of the CBO has confirmed what Democrats have been saying,” said Schumer. “Ten years from today, if Trump and the Republicans have their way, 24 million Americans would not have health insurance and 58 million, 10 years from now, would not have health coverage–that is not American. That is wrong.”
Schumer said that under the RyanCare bill premiums would rise 25 percent. “If there ever was a war on seniors, this is it.”
Pelosi also locked onto Ryan’s description of the RyanCare bill as an example of his generosity.
“The CBO has reported that the Republican bill pushes 24 million people out of health care,” she said.
“This is a remarkable figure, and it speaks to the cruelty of the bill that the speaker called ‘an act of mercy,’ she said. “It is not an act of mercy to the people who lose their jobs or to hospitals they close in rural areas. I do not know if he thinks this is an act of mercy for people on opioids, who look to Medicaid for answers like many Republican governors do.”
Pelosi said the CBO report proves that RyanCare takes national health care policy in the wrong direction. “This narrows coverage and decreases the quality of benefits, and it costs more–it doesn’t achieve anything it sets out to do.”
Proving that in the Senate there are no permanent enemies, Schumer name-checked Sen. Tom Cotton (R.-Ark.), the freshman senator he lectured Jan. 23 about the way confirmations were handled for President Barack Obama’s cabinet selections. Cotton, an Army Ranger and combat veteran, told the New Yorker: “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan, so don’t talk to me about where I was eight years ago.”
This time, Schumer said he agreed with the gentleman from Arkansas: “Senator Cotton, who is not someone I usually agree with, he said: ‘Not so fast.'”
Schumer said he doubted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) has the votes to pass the RyanCare bill in the Senate.
“McConnell will have real difficulty,” he said. “Mainstream Republicans don’t like that is cuts Medicaid, which is for poor people and it is also people in nursing homes. What would you do? Maybe you have to take care of them? Or they have to shell out thousands from their pockets? It is such a loser.”