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Republican Speaker of the House from Wisconsin Paul Ryan speaking to the media, in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 May 2017. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
Republican Speaker of the House from Wisconsin Paul Ryan speaking to the media, in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 May 2017. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Republican healthcare plan will cost 23 million people their coverage, CBO says

The healthcare reform proposed by President Donald Trump to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare, and which was narrowly approved by the Republican-controlled House…

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The healthcare reform proposed by President Donald Trump to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare, and which was narrowly approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would leave 23 million people without healthcare coverage over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The figure is slightly lower than the 24 million people previously anticipated to lose their healthcare coverage and the CBO says that the proposal would reduce the US budget deficit by $119 billion, significantly less than the $150 million reduction calculated earlier.

Although Trump managed - in his first major political accomplishment - to get House approval for the measure to eliminate former President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare, it appears that the proposal will have difficulty making headway in the Senate.

In that vote, the new bill passed only narrowly in a 217-213 vote after Republicans were twice unable in March to collect enough votes to pass it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the figures confirm that the aim of the proposal is to reduce the deficit and the premiums that patients must pay.

The new analysis by the CBO, a non-partisan entity that reports to Congress, makes it even more difficult for Republicans in the Senate, where they hold a slim majority, to approve the measure that was passed in the House, with its much more conservative stamp, on May 4.

Republicans are traditionally more focused on reducing the amount of healthcare spending in the US budget than on broadening medical coverage.

Shortly before the CBO figures were announced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his doubts that he could assemble a simple majority to approve the so-called Trumpcare proposal.

In an unusual move, the House voted three weeks ago on the proposal without waiting for the CBO to issue its analysis, and McConnell emphasized that the Senate would wait to have that data in hand before moving forward on drafting its own version of healthcare reform.

The Democratic opposition, meanwhile, emphasized the negative consequences for people in light of the CBO analysis, focusing particularly on the loss of coverage for tens of millions of citizens.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, said: "Today's devastating CBO score hammers home Trumpcare's dire consequences for working families and seniors across the country."

"House Republicans have tattooed themselves with a Trumpcare bill that means higher costs, 23 million hard-working Americans losing coverage, shredding key protections, a crushing age tax and stealing from Medicare," she added.

The White House, for its part, rejected the CBO estimates as untrustworthy.

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