Paul Ryan dismisses CBO’s dire analysis, argues 22 million people just don’t want health care

“People will choose not to buy something they don’t like.”

Ryan speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill on June 22. CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

During a Fox & Friends interview that aired Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) dire analysis of the health care bill Senate Republicans are planning to force a vote on this week, and falsely framed health insurance as a luxury good that some people simply don’t want or need.

The CBO concluded that the Senate bill will result in 22 million Americans losing their health insurance over the next decade, including 18 million next year alone. That won’t happen because people are willingly giving up coverage they don’t want. The majority of the Senate bill’s coverage loses occur because of the bill’s drastic cuts to Medicaid, a program that covers low-income individuals and families.

Other people would lose coverage because they wouldn’t be able to afford it. The CBO writes that under the Senate plan, premium and deductibles would become so expensive that “few low-income people would purchase any plan.” Many plans would come with extremely high out-of-pocket costs, and states could opt to allow insurers to sell plans that don’t cover services mandated by Obamacare, such as addiction treatment and maternity care.

But during the Fox & Friends interview, Ryan portrayed pushing people off Medicaid and pricing the poor out of the insurance market as lifting an oppressive burden.

With regard to the CBO’s evaluation, Ryan said, “what they’re basically saying at the CBO 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, they won’t buy it.”

“So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan,” he continued. “It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

Ryan has a history of twisting the facts to support a bill that is really a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as a health care plan. The Speaker did the same thing in the lead-up to the vote on the House’s version of the bill, claiming that the legislation “protects people with pre-existing conditions” when it in fact does the opposite.

On Tuesday, Fox & Friends  President Trump’s favorite show — provided cover for Ryan’s misinformation. A segment following Ryan’s interview focused on the Senate bill’s deficit savings, overlooking that they come at the price of ending subsidies that tens of millions of people use to purchase health insurance.

Last month, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade characterized coverage for preexisting conditions is a “luxury” during a discussion of the House version of the bill. Another co-host, Steve Doocy, quickly pivoted to talking about the benefits of tax cuts and massively deregulation.

“The key is getting rid of a lot of the regulations and a lot of the taxes which many small businesses have been burdened with over the last number of years,” Doocy said. “They will be out.”