Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) accused leading Democrats, including President Obama, of making up the number of people insured under Obamacare.
“It’s interesting the numbers because the president uses one number. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi came out with a much higher number. I think they’re making them up,” Barrasso told reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill when asked about whether the GOP plans to maintain Obamacare’s coverage levels. “We’ve done a lot of research into what the numbers truly are.”
A report by the Department of Health and Human Services found that 20 million people had gained coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. A more recent study by the think tank the Urban Institute on the GOP’s plans to repeal found that 30 million Americans stand to lose their insurance if Republicans repeal the law without a replacement. Among those whose coverage would be at risk are those who are on individual plans outside of Obamacare, as a repeal without a replacement is predicted to cause chaos throughout the individual market, the study said. Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, the uninsured rate has been nearly cut in half: from 16 percent in 2010, to 8.6 percent in 2016, according to the CDC.
“Many of the people who have been covered got it through Medicaid,” Barrasso said Wednesday. He said that a majority of those were eligible before the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, while referencing a study by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber.
(The study found that 63 percent of Obamacare coverage gains in 2014 came from Medicaid enrollment, and 44 percent of the total ACA coverage gains came from previously eligible adults and children, including the 2011–2013 early Medicaid expansions.)
“So there are many things we can do with Medicaid to help people get better care with coverage and get the states to make the decisions instead of the expensive way, that Washington does it,” Barrasso said.