Two months ago, Donald Trump made a seemingly unambiguous commitment
on the issue of health care: "We're going to have insurance for everybody." Soon after, BuzzFeed reported
that congressional Republicans were working under the assumption that the president didn't actually mean what he said, and were working on a plan that did not, in fact, cover all Americans.
And as it turns out, GOP lawmakers were correct; Trump didn't mean a word of it. But this creates a political challenge for the White House: if the president guaranteed "insurance for everybody," and the Republican plan Trump supports would increase the ranks of the uninsured by tens of millions of Americans, how in the world is the president's team supposed to spin the obvious contradiction?
The answer is, by pointing to the invisible fine print. Today, for example, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the administration supports coverage for "everybody who wants to get it
See the difference?
This came up a bit yesterday, when the Congressional Budget Office's report on "Trumpcare" was first unveiled, and news accounts noted that 14 million Americans would lose their coverage next year, and that number would expand to 24 million by 2026.
Not so, Republicans said. Sure, an additional 14 million Americans may no longer have health security next year, and that total may grow to 24 million in a decade, but it's wrong to say they've "lost" their coverage. Rather, Republicans argue, it's correct to say these millions of people simply won't buy it.
Consider a real-world example. The CBO score pointed to
a hypothetical, single individual with an annual income of $26,500. If that individual is young, say 21, he or she would fare quite well in terms of cheaper premiums under the American Health Care Act. But....
But if that person is 64 years old, he would be hurt by the Republican bill. Under Obamacare, he would also pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance. But under the Republican bill, he would pay $14,600 -- more than half his annual income. That amounts to more than a 750 percent increase in premiums from Obamacare to the Republican bill.