‘They can’t afford it’: CNN’s Jim Acosta stupefies Sean Spicer with facts about millions losing care
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried on Tuesday to convince CNN Correspondent Jim Acosta that President Donald Trump’s health care plan would cover more people than President Barack Obama’s law — even though the Congressional Budget Office has said otherwise.
During Tuesday’s White House briefing, Acosta suggested that millions fewer Americans would be covered because the Republican plan would remove the individual mandate.
“Would you conceded that there will be some coverage losses, perhaps in the millions?” Acosta asked. “There will be millions of people who will not have health insurance because of what you’re doing.”
Spicer argued that millions of people were already choosing to pay a penalty instead of purchasing health care.
“The mandate forces people to buy insurance so you don’t have the free rider problem,” the CNN correspondent noted. “You have free riders and those folks end up in car accidents and end up at the emergency room. And then health care is much more expensive.”
Spicer shot back that President Obama’s law “forced people to buy plans that they did not like that were mandated by the government.”
“The idea actually is that if you could bring down costs and choices and allow people to find a plan that fit their budget, that was tailored to their needs, there’s actually a higher likelihood that they will find something that they want at a price that they can afford,” the press secretary opined. “As [opposed] to right now, which is I get a plan that I’m forced to buy, that has a deductible that I can’t afford but I’ve got a cute little plastic [insurance] card that I can wave around.”
“It will get you coverage,” Acosta pointed out.
“No, that’s not true,” Spicer disagreed.
“If you show up at the emergency room,” Acosta added. “If you’ve been hit by a bus, you’re not going to be just paying out of pocket to the hospital if you’re dying.”
Spicer observed that President Trump’s plan would make health care more affordable for people who were hit by a bus because it would legalize catastrophic insurance plans, which were banned as “junk insurance” under Obamacare.
Acosta reminded Spicer that the CBO estimated that over 20 million fewer Americans would have coverage by 2020.
“If they actually had choices and had a plan option that was down at a budget they could afford, there is a higher likelihood that they would buy a plan,” Spicer declared. “In a third of the counties right now there is only one plan.”
“That’s a good talking point, but at least there is coverage in those states,” Acosta said. “If you pull this away then you’re going to have people in a lot of states who aren’t going to have access to any coverage because they can’t afford it with these tax credits you’re providing. There is an argument to the other side. The [existing] subsidies are more generous.”
“Government-run, government-mandated health care has actually gone a muck!” Spicer shot back.
“What’s wrong with government-run health care?” Acosta interrupted. “Medicare is government-run health care. I don’t see citizens screaming that they want you to get rid of their Medicare.”
“Maybe get outside and talk to some of them,” Spicer said. “More and more Medicaid recipients — in fact, more and more Medicare recipients aren’t actually able to get coverage.”
“The president’s goal is to provide health care coverage to every American,” he continued. “And right now, they’re not getting that… To make this look like a choice, there isn’t really a choice. The system that we have now is failing. The choices is whether we give them an opportunity to have real care.”
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