Some Republicans are saying that millions of low-income Americans will choose not to have health insurance, not actually lose their coverage, if the GOP health care plan becomes law (video below).
The Congressional Budget Office found that the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the health care bill that Republicans are attempting to pass in the Senate, would result in 22 million Americans losing their insurance by 2026, and added: "By 2026, among people under age 65, enrollment in Medicaid would fall by about 16 percent and an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law."
Emily Singer, a journalist for Mic, tweeted about Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who supports the GOP plan, on July 6: "Apparently to Cornyn, he views 22 million people losing health care as a fair trade for maybe 250K jobs."
Cornyn tweeted back: "Not lose, choose. Apparently you believe freedom is optional."
Steven Dennis of Bloomberg News responded to Cornyn: "Frequent GOP talking point in Senate hallways: +22M won't be 'losing' health insurance, they'll be 'choosing' to go without."
Cornyn responded: "Has virtue of being true. People will buy what they value."
Marc Short, director of legislative affairs for President Donald Trump, also used the choose-not-lose talking point during an interview with Fox News on July 2:
They're reporting what CBO says, but the CBO credibility should be certainly should be questioned at this point. Seven million of those people are people that don’t exist.
They’re people that is based upon a baseline that CBO put out in 2014, even though the actual number is way down here. There’s another seven million people they say will choose to leave the market that they say are losing insurance. That’s not losing, that’s choosing.
They take another four million people on Medicaid and they say those four million people who get Medicaid today will choose, if they don't have a mandate, to leave.
Short did not say why four million people would knowingly choose to leave the free health care of Medicaid and thereby willingly place their health in danger.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also used the choose-not-lose talking point during an interview on "Fox and Friends" on June 27:
They’re basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something that they don’t want, then they won’t buy it. So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.
The CBO asserts that people will be pushed off of Medicaid and people who use subsidies won't be able to afford health insurance coverage:
In later years, other changes in the legislation -- lower spending on Medicaid and substantially smaller average subsidies for coverage in the nongroup market -- would also lead to increases in the number of people without health insurance.