Ryan: I ‘Recognize And Appreciate Concerns’ Of Millions Losing Coverage

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., speaks during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Monday that nobody will have “the rug pulled out from under them” by a Republican bill to repeal Obamacare, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would leave 24 million more people uninsured over the next 10 years.

“I recognize and appreciate concerns about making sure people have access to coverage,” Ryan said in a statement. “And, as we have long said, there will be a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them.”

He highlighted segments of the CBO’s report noting that the bill would “provide massive tax relief” and “dramatically reduce the deficit,” and said the legislation is “just the first of a three-pronged approach.”

“It’s important to note that this report does not take into consideration additional steps Congress and the Trump administration are taking that will further lower costs and increase choices,” Ryan said.

In a report released Monday, the CBO estimated that 24 million people would lose their insurance over the next 10 years under the repeal bill. Fourteen million would lose coverage by 2018, just in time for the midterm elections.

The CBO also estimated that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion dollars over the next 10 years, and would save the government $6 billion dollars.

On Sunday, Ryan predicted that the report would estimate a drop in coverage, but agreed with President Donald Trump’s characterization that the 2018 midterm elections will be a “bloodbath” for Republicans if they don’t pass the bill.

When pressed for an estimate of how many people would lose coverage under House Republicans’ bill, Ryan demurred.

“I can’t answer that question. It’s up to people,” he said. “You get it if you want it. That’s freedom.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK