Spicer to ABC’s Karl: ‘Blurring of the Facts’ Causing Town Hall Disruptions

Wednesday at the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer had an exchange with ABC’s Jon Karl over town hall participants concerns about President Donald Trump’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Partial transcript as follows:

KARL: Sean, I want to ask you about the town halls we’ve been hearing about Obamacare. The president referred to so-called angry crowds at these town halls, is he suggesting this is manufactured anger, that this is not real anger and concern?

SPICER: There’s a hybrid there. Some people are clearly upset, but there is a bit of professional protester manufactured base in there. But obviously, there are people that are upset. But I also think that when you look at some of these districts and some of these things, that it is not a representation of a member’s district or an incident. It is a loud group, a small group of people disrupting something in many cases for media attention, no offense. It’s just I think that’s, that necessarily, just because they’re loud doesn’t necessarily mean that there are many. And I think in a lot of cases that’s what you’re seeing.

KARL: Does the president doubt there is real anger and concern out there?

SPICER: No, I just said that.

KARL: Beyond just a few loud agitators, there’s real concern people may lose health care–

SPICER: But they won’t. That’s a false narrative. I don’t the president’s been very clear. Look, you have to look at what our health care system is right now. In so many counties around our nation, we’ve gone down to one provider. That’s not choice. That’s not access. And then going in saying we’re not taking Medicaid or Tricare, the doctor you used to have isn’t participating anymore. By the way states likeArizonaa you’ve got over 100% increase in premiums, 112 I think was the number there, many states it’s double digit. And I think that the idea that we have to recommend is that the American people got sold the Affordable Care Act, it’s neither affordable or accessible. They’re losing their coverage and premiums are spiking. So if people are truly worried about losing their coverage the president’s action of wanting to make sure we put a system in place that does what they were supposed to have been promised a while back. And that’s what I think is missing from this dialogue. I’ve seen some folks that were protesting in some of these things saying I lost, I’m on Obamacare I’m going to lose my thing, and when they were asked how old they were, I’m 71, 72. They’re not on Obamacare. They’re on Medicaid.

KARL: You think they’re making it up?

SPICER: I’m not saying they’re making it up but there’s blurring of the facts and the reality is that some people are on an employer-based system, they’re on Medicaid, receiving benefits through Medicare because of their age, so they have no problems. But I this — in other cases, people are not being told that the plan they’re on is unsustainable, that these carriers throughout the country, you just look at them over and over again, pulling out of the exchanges. The reality is they are losing their health care, but they’re losing it under the Obamacare, carriers pulling out, premiums are going up, and access is going down. So the president’s plan is actually going to do exactly what they were promised eight years ago and didn’t get. For those who are worried, the answer is, help is on the way.

KARL: What is the plan? We haven’t seen —

SPICER: Okay, so first, as the president made clear we’ll have that out in the next couple weeks. He’s working on it. The goal, Jonathan, this got jammed through a Democratic Congress, and then they told us you can read it after we get it passed. Taking our time, getting this right to achieve the goals we set forth is probably the right thing to do, considering the experience we had the last time.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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