WASHINGTON- House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimate that the Senate health care bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million over the next decade should not be considered an indictment of the legislation.
“There’s more to the story than what the number implies, but having said that, it’s important that we have a referee,” Ryan said at a news conference on Tuesday accompanied by fellow House GOP leaders.
Ryan did not elaborate, but the Speaker told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Monday evening shorty after the CBO score was released that the projected estimate takes into consideration the elimination of the Obamacare mandate.
The mandate allows the government to fine individuals who choose not to purchase health insurance as well as small business owners who do not offer insurance plans to their employees.
“What they are basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is if you are not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you are not going to force people to buy something they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” Ryan explained in the interview.
Ryan was asked Tuesday how, in the event of Senate passage, the House would reconcile changes made to legislation since it departed the lower chamber last month, but the Speaker said it was too early to make an assessment.
Ryan told reporters he is uncertain as to when the Senate will pass the health care bill but that he is confident upper chamber will approve the legislation.
“I would not bet against [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. He is very very good at getting things done through the Senate even with this razor-thin majority,” the Speaker explained.
Six Republican senators have said they will not support the legislation in its current form. The upper chamber’s 46 Democrats and two independent members also oppose the legislation.
Ryan was not alone in casting doubt over the CBO’s projection.
An unsigned statement released by the White House Monday night said the nonpartisan office “has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage.”
“This history of inaccuracy, as demonstrated by its flawed report on coverage, premiums, and predicted deficit arising out of Obamacare, reminds us that its analysis must not be trusted blindly,” the statement reads.
The statement goes on to site 2013 projections for the Affordable Care Act predicting that 13 million more Americans would have insurance in 2016 than there actually were.