A non-partisan report expected as soon as Monday on the costs of a Republican plan to replace the Obamacare healthcare law could harden opposition to the proposal, adding to the obstacles facing President Donald Trump’s first major legislative effort.
The Congressional Budget Office, which provides official cost estimates for legislation, is widely expected to find the Republican plan will result in fewer Americans with health insurance than under the Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation.
Just days before taking office in January, Trump promised “insurance for everybody” in his Obamacare replacement.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the Republican healthcare plan’s top backer in Congress, acknowledged on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday that the CBO projections would likely show a decline in insurance coverage because the legislation would drop an Obamacare provision mandating that Americans obtain health insurance or pay a fine.
“The one thing I’m certain will happen is CBO will say: ‘Well, gosh. Not as many people will get coverage,'” Ryan said. “You know why? Because this isn’t a government mandate.”
Ryan added the Republican plan would lower healthcare costs and allow more people to afford coverage if they want it.
He said he expected the CBO report on Monday or Tuesday.
The House Republican legislation would also roll back an expansion of Medicaid insurance for the poor, and replace Obamacare’s income-based subsidies with a system of fixed tax credits to help people buy private insurance on the open market.
The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has estimated 6 million to 10 million people could lose health insurance under the Republican plan, known as the American Health Care Act.
It would cancel tax revenues worth at least $600 billion over 10 years, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.
REPUBLICANS DOWNPLAY REPORT
The CBO report is needed to determine the full budgetary impact of the legislation – whether the savings from the Medicaid cuts and lower subsidy costs are enough to offset the loss of tax revenues.
Republicans have long opposed Obamacare, saying it was government overreach and led to higher insurance premiums. Trump, a Republican, has called the law a “disaster” and made its repeal and replacement a key campaign pledge.
Democrats and some influential Republicans say the legislation to replace Obamacare would rip health insurance away from millions of Americans and increase costs for many others. The 2010 law provided 20 million previously uninsured Americans with health coverage.
On Sunday, senior Trump administration officials attacked the CBO’s credibility and downplayed the upcoming report.
“We will see what the score is. In fact in the past, the CBO score has really been meaningless,” Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, told “Fox News Sunday.”
Republicans have sharply criticized the CBO for its past estimates that 22 million people would buy insurance through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges by 2016, when that number only came to about 10.4 million, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.
HHS Secretary Tom Price pledged on “Meet the Press” that “nobody will be worse off financially” under the Republican plan.
Still, the plan faces an uphill battle winning support in the Republican-controlled Congress. In the face of unified opposition from Democrats, Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes in the House and two votes in the Senate.
Several conservative Republicans in the House said the plan was too similar to the Obamacare provisions it would replace, while some Republicans are concerned it will not lead to more affordable healthcare coverage.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Caren Bohan and Peter Cooney)
Hong Kong police fire first gunshot in protest clashes
Hong Kong police used water cannon for the first time and at least one officer fired his sidearm during pitched battles with protesters Sunday, one of the most violent nights in three months of pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the city.
An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent running confrontations between protesters and police, with officers several times caught outnumbered and isolated by masked youths wielding sticks and throwing rocks.
In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
"According to my understanding, just now a gunshot was fired by a colleague," Superintendent Leung Kwok Win told the press.
A Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy admits he lied about being shot by a sniper
A Los Angeles sheriff's deputy who claimed to have been attacked by a sniper last week has confessed to lying about the supposed incident.
"Reinosa admitted he was not shot at as he previously claimed," L.A. County Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said regarding Angel Reinosa, the California sheriff's deputy who was still a trainee when he claimed on Wednesday that he had been attacked by an unknown sniper, according to ABC News. "He also told investigators he had caused the holes in his uniform by cutting it. There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder."
Stephen Miller praises Trump for having the ‘courage to stand up’ and put migrant children in jail
White House aide Stephen Miller insisted on Sunday that migrant children who have been imprisoned by the Trump administration have "psychological damage" that occurred before they were incarcerated.
In an interview on Fox News, correspondent John Roberts spoke to Miller about the detention policy that allows family separations.
Roberts observed that some migrants could be detained for "years" because of the backlog in the immigration system.
Miller disagreed, insisting that migrants could be processed in 40 to 60 days in most cases.
"These housing facilities are extremely carefully appointed to make sure the rights of migrants are protected," Miller said. "And everything you've heard in the media about this is totally 100% false."