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Democrats Use CBO Report to Message Against Obamacare Repeal

Number of House Democrats skipping Trump’s inauguration continues to grow

Pelosi, right, and other Democrats are using a new CBO report to message against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Pelosi, right, and other Democrats are using a new CBO report to message against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats gained a useful messaging tool Tuesday in their efforts to thwart the GOP’s plan to dismantle the 2010 health care law, as the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying up to 32 million people would lose their insurance under a previous Republican proposal.

The CBO also estimated that marketplace premiums would nearly double under the GOP repeal legislation President Barack Obama vetoed last year. Republicans are using that prior budget reconciliation bill as a model for legislation they are drafting. Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the new legislation will include some pieces of replacement policy as well. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the CBO report describes a “nightmare” scenario under which “health care costs will explode, Americans in the individual market will see their premiums double by 2026, and the number of uninsured Americans will surge by 18 million in the first year alone and by 32 million by 2026.” 

The California Democrat added: “Republicans need to wake up to the brutal impact that repealing the ACA will have on the lives of their constituents.” Members of her team and other Democrats picked up on the theme as well.

Republicans had a quite different take on the report.

“This projection is meaningless, as it takes into account no measures to replace the law nor actions that the incoming administration will take to revitalize the individual market that has been decimated by Obamacare,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong. 

Democrats are not just messaging on the Affordable Care Act. Many of them are also sending a message to President-elect Donald Trump that they don’t support his presidency.  Nearly 50 Democrats, a quickly growing number, have announced plans to skip Trump’s inauguration. 

“My humble and loving parents taught me to live by this saying, ‘Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.’ It means tell me who you hang out with, and I’ll tell you who you are,” California Democrat Tony Cárdenas, a member of the House Democratic leadership team, said in a statement.

Cárdenas has decided he does not want to hang out with Trump, saying, “He has disrespected countless Americans — women, civil rights leaders, Hispanics, people with disabilities, Muslims, gold star families, African Americans, POWs, and more. I feel this decision best represents my family, constituents, and country.”

In holiday weekend news, Ryan on Martin Luther King Day met with police chiefs from across the country in his home town of Janesville to discuss police and community relations. Ryan plans to continue conversations with law enforcement and community leaders in the coming days and months, according to his office.

The goal of the meetings is to ease tension and build understanding, as well as brainstorm ideas for what can be done to improve relations. Ideas mentioned at the Monday meeting included improving the country’s mental health system and instituting innovative deadly force training programs.

“This is in dire need in America, and I think we witnessed, especially last year, how if we don’t get this right, communities will be destroyed, lives will be lost, families will be separated,” Ryan said in an apparent reference to the Dallas police shooting. “And no one wins in that kind of situation.”

Meanwhile, roughly 1,500 miles away in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz led a discussion following a different kind of mass shooting — an ISIS motivated mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that killed five people. Wasserman Schultz held a roundtable with federal, state and local officials to discuss airport security and what improvements can be made to avoid future incidents.

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