It's no surprise House members pushed through their second version of the American Healthcare Act without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to complete its assessment of it, Sen. Dick Durbin said Thursday.
"The Congressional Budget Office tells us that this approach passed by the House of Representatives by two votes, without any public hearing and barely after the ink was dry, would be disastrous," the Illinois Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "It's back to the bad old days under this Republican approach."
The CBO said in its report that if the House version of the bill becomes law, 23 million Americans will lose their insurance, premiums will rise sharply, and people with preexisting conditions would find themselves with unaffordable insurance or no insurance at all.
"Eliminating things like coverage for mental illness as well as substance abuse treatment at this moment in history is a definite step backwards," said Durbin.
Obamacare was dealt with another blow on Wednesday when Blue Cross/Blue Shield announced it will leave Missouri's marketplace in 2018, affecting about 67,000 customers. The company was the latest to announce pulling out of the marketplace, but Durbin said he still believes that Obamacare is "working for the overwhelming majority of Americans."
"Are there parts of it that need to be changed and improved?" he said. "Of course, and it's in the individual market that we have the problems that you just outlined here."
Most people, said Durbin, get their insurance through their employment, and many others are covered through Medicaid. However, the private insurance market on the insurance exchanges need work, said Durbin.
"I hear this phrase, 'death spiral, the Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral,'" said Durbin. "It's in a death spiral because the Republicans have their hands around its throat. If they would sit down with us and work to improve the system we can cover more Americans, we can enlarge these insurance pools so we can spread the risk and keep premium costs under control."
Durbin said he would like to see a compromise that "wouldn't be Obamacare but it also wouldn't be Trumpcare."
He noted that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is trying to come up with an approach that will work on a bipartisan basis, and is looking to bring down costs, protect and expand the number of people covered, and to build in incentives for quality and affordable care.
"If we take repeal off the table and sit down with those as our goals, I think we can reach it," said Durbin. "But you can't reach it by starting with a tax cut of almost a trillion dollars for the wealthiest people in America. That isn't how you move toward more and more health insurance protection."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.