Empty hospital emergency room.
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Official report exposes GOP health care promises as falsehoods

Last week, Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, did his best to sound optimistic about the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Republican health care plan. “I hear all the talk about the CBO score,” Mulvaney said. “The only question about the CBO: Is it going to be really good or is it going to be great when that number finally comes out?”

Late yesterday, the report finally came out. For Republicans, it’s neither “really good” nor “great.”

On the contrary, it’s a brutal analysis, offering new details that cast the GOP’s American Health Care Act – “Trumpcare,” to many of the bill’s critics – in a deeply unflattering light. There are plenty of reports on the Congressional Budget Office’s findings, but let’s start with something simple: the degree to which the evidence exposes Republican promises as brazen falsehoods. NBC News’ Benjy Sarlin explained last night:
President Donald Trump rode to the White House making big promises on health care – pledges that he is now in serious danger of breaking…. So now that the House GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) is here, how do these pledges look?

Not good, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released on Monday. The report found the House plan – which the Trump administration has thrown its support behind – would cause millions to lose insurance and raise costs for vulnerable populations.
Let’s review the top eight most brazen Republican falsehoods exposed by the CBO’s report.

1. Donald Trump vowed, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody…. Everybody’s going to be taken care of.” That’s now obviously ridiculous, with the Congressional Budget Office concluding that the ranks of the uninsured would grow by 14 million by next year, and that number would expand to 24 million by 2026.

2. Trump said, “I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” As the CBO score makes clear, the Republicans’ American Health Care Act would gut Medicaid, effectively ending the program as we know it.

3. Trump promised the Republican plan would cover consumers with “much lower deductibles.” While the CBO report points to a range of cost changes, based largely on age, it also found millions of Americans would pay more for care.

4. Paul Ryan’s official Q&A on his health plan asks, “Won’t millions of Americans lose their health insurance because of your plan?” Ryan then answers his own question, “No.” Some may want to have a semantics argument about the meaning of the word “lose,” but we’re looking at a dynamic in which many consumers have insurance, want insurance, but will no longer be able to afford insurance. When they’re forced to go without, they have, in practical terms, lost their coverage.

5. HHS Secretary Tom Price vowed that “nobody will be worse off financially” as a result of the Republican plan. So much for that idea.

6. Price also said the GOP plan “will, in fact, cover more individuals than are currently covered.” The CBO report obviously points in the opposite direction.

7. Practically every Republican official involved in the process insists the Affordable Care Act is currently imploding. That’s not what the Congressional Budget Office found.

8. Trump said his approach to health care would “end [the] opioid epidemic in America” and “dramatically expand access to treatment slots.” The CBO didn’t specify exactly how many Americans would lose access to addiction treatment, but it nevertheless made clear that the Republican plan would make this national crisis worse.

There’s a broader discussion to be had about why, exactly, Republicans made all of these claims, knowing that the Congressional Budget Office analysis was on the way. Maybe Trump, Ryan, and their cohorts thought their falsehoods would get more attention than reality; maybe they’re working from the assumption that the GOP plan is destined to fail anyway, so they might as well repeat whatever ridiculous talking points come to mind.

Whatever the motivation, the CBO’s report is effectively a 37-page fact-check, presenting everyone with a detailed and transparent review of reality. No wonder Republican leaders are furious.