Following CBO report, Senator Murray challenges Price to explain how “No One Will Be Worse Off”

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has called on Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price to explain his claim made on Meet the Press that “no one will be worse off financially” under the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recently, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for the Republican bill and found that “in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the [AHCA] than under current law.”

“Your claim that ‘no one will be worse off financially’ under the Republican plan suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the U.S. healthcare system and the needs of those who rely on the ACA reforms for coverage,” wrote Senator Murray to Secretary Price. “It echoes promises made by President Trump and Republicans that simply do not square with rigorous, independent, publically available analysis.”

Along with the 14 million people that would be left without health insurance in 2018, the CBO report further calculated that by 2026, a total of 24 million more than under current law would lose their coverage, yet again contradicting statements made by Secretary Price and President Trump who promised to provide “insurance for everybody.” Furthermore, immediately following the CBO’s cost estimate release, Secretary Price said that “we disagree strenuously” with CBO’s analysis despite having previously praised the CBO Director for his non-partisan work.

“Given these coverage and cost estimates from the White House, CBO, and various health care experts, your confidence in the success of Trumpcare to increase coverage and lower costs calls into question your commitment to the HHS mission: to ‘enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans.’”

Sen. Murray made the following requests for information from Sec. Price, and asked that they be provided no later than March 31, 2017:

1. On what document or information do you base the claim that “nobody will be worse off financially” under the AHCA? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any cost estimates to support your conclusion.

2. On what document or information do you rely to contradict the CBO’s estimates that 14 million more people will be uninsured by 2018 and 24 million more people will be uninsured by 2026? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any coverage estimates to support your conclusion.

3. On what document or information should CBO have relied to capture the coverage and cost effects of your “entire plan”? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any coverage and cost estimates that CBO could have used to conduct a full analysis.

4. On what document or information do you rely to contradict the White House’s estimates that 26 million more people will be uninsured by 2026? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any coverage estimates to support your conclusion.

5. On what document or information do you rely to disprove the Brookings Institution’s finding that the AHCA will result in at least 15 million people losing coverage? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any coverage estimates to support your conclusion.

6. On what document or information do you rely to disprove the Kaiser Family Foundation’s finding that the AHCA will result in smaller tax credits for those in rural areas, those with low incomes, and older Americans? Please provide all documents and communications that reference or refer to any cost estimates to support your conclusion.

SOURCE: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Ranking Member’s press release, March 14, 2017.

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