Republicans blasted new figures Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office saying 23 million people would eventually lose coverage under the American Healthcare Act, emphasizing instead the data confirmed the Obamacare continues to be a failure.
"The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare's effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, whose department released its own estimates late Tuesday.
"In reality, Americans are paying more for fewer healthcare choices because of Obamacare – and that's why the Trump administration is committed to reforming healthcare."
Price, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, noted the HHS analysis showed "premiums in the individual market have more than doubled since many of Obamacare's regulations and mandates were implemented."
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said "under Obamacare, premiums have more than doubled, and choices have dwindled to the point that many families have no options at all.
"We are on a rescue mission to bring down the cost of coverage and make sure families have access to affordable care.
"This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit," Ryan said.
"It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare."
The nonpartisan CBO estimated Wednesday that 23 million people would lose health coverage by 2026 under the AHCA, which House Republicans passed earlier this month on a 217-213 vote.
Ryan pulled the original bill from two floor votes in March amid strong opposition from the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
The new estimate of American losing insurance is one million less than the CBO predicted with the earlier plan that sought to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In addition, federal budget deficits would fall by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the revised plan, less than the $150 billion estimate in the original bill.
The score raised the stakes for Republican senators working on their own version of the bill.
"Regardless of any CBO score, it's no secret Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight," Georgia Sen. David Perdue said.
"Families need real relief now from the limited choices and skyrocketing costs of the failed law. Doing nothing is not an option."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the chamber's healthcare plan would be "significantly different" from the House bill.
"We're focused on how to solve the underlying problem and not spending a great deal of time dwelling on one scoring estimate for a proposal that's not going to be the underlying bill," Cruz told reporters on Capitol Hill, per The Hill.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said "Obamacare was built on a flawed foundation.
"That has led to skyrocketing premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer choices for American families," Scott said.
"Obamacare has turned out to be the Unaffordable Care Act, and that's not fair to millions of families, from South Carolina to Oregon."
Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, who has co-sponsored an alternative bill with Maine Sen. Susan Collins, said also ripped the House plan.
"Congress' focus must be to lower premiums with coverage which passes the Jimmy Kimmel test," he said. "The AHCA does not."
Collins said the CBO score proved the AHCA would "disproportionately affect older, lower-income Americans."
"The goal of any [Affordable Care Act] replacement should be to improve access to quality healthcare while providing consumers with more choices and restraining costs."
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller reiterated he remained "opposed to the American Health Care Act in its current form."
"The AHCA is a first step, but not the solution; now the Senate is doing its own work to put forth its own ideas that could work for states like Nevada," Heller said.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger explained the new CBO score by saying "the top-line numbers are actually pretty similar" to the previous estimates.
"But a significant number of those 23 million that the CBO predict are folks that basically choose not to have health insurance coverage," he told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
"We believe, philosophically, that the government shouldn't compel somebody to buy insurance.
"There are going to be people, as there are now under Obamacare, who choose to pay the penalty instead of the coverage – that will choose not to take it.
"So, that's a top-line score."
Other Republicans took to Twitter:
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