WH Spox Criticizes ‘Puppies and Rainbows’ Coverage of Obamacare

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 13, 2017.
March 13, 2017 2:36 p.m.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused reporters at the White House on Monday of deliberately playing up the positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act as a bill to repeal it advances in Congress.

“It makes it seem like it’s all rainbows and puppies,” he complained.

Spicer then disputed that the tens of millions of previously uninsured people who have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act truly have coverage.

“At the end of the day, if you have a[n insurance] card and you’re getting a subsidy but you’re not getting care, you have nothing,” he said, launching into a meandering critique of life under Obamacare.

Pressed by journalists about reports finding the GOP health care bill could cause 15 million people to lose their health insurance coverage, Spicer argued those people don’t enjoy “real” coverage today.

There’s a false argument there, which is that they have coverage. People have cards. They’ve been told they have things but they keep walking in. The president met with nine individuals this morning that were told they’re going to get coverage from something. They were told they’re going to have all these subsidies. They don’t have the care they need. There’s a difference between walking around with someone and saying, ‘Hey, I have a card’ than ‘I have care.’ That’s a big, big difference.

Spicer pointed to reports that a third of U.S. counties have only one insurer on the individual market and argued this is a sign that “the system is collapsing.”

“Right now the current system of Obamacare is failing every American who has Obamacare,” he said.

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Health care experts tell TPM that they see no evidence that the GOP repeal bill will reduce premium costs, and because its proposed tax credits are significantly less generous than Obamacare’s subsidies, many people—particularly lower-income older people—would have to pay more for their health insurance if the plan is implemented.

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