February 26, 2017

Trump Deputy White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made an appearance on ABC's This Week this Sunday, and continually punted when asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether or not their Obamacare replacement plan (which they keep insisting will be "better") will kick millions of people off of their existing healthcare coverage.

Sanders did her best to rattle off the usual talking points about the Affordable Care Act supposedly "collapsing" (it's not) and continued to insist in broad terms that their replacement plan will somehow be an improvement on what we have now, but when Stephanopoulos tried over and over again to pin her down on how many Americans would lose their coverage, she had no response.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let's move on to the State of the Union. One of the big questions at the State of the Union coming up -- I guess it's not a State of the Union; the address to Congress on Tuesday -- will be what to do with Obamacare in this and what the president's going to say should be done.

During the campaign, he said everyone's got to be covered. As recently as January 15th, he told "The Washington Post" we're going to have insurance for everybody. But there's a brand-new analysis out just today about the Republican plans about to be presented. They were presented to the governors yesterday. And it says millions may lose coverage in Obamacare repeal, governors told. Policies supported by Republican congressional leaders to replace Obamacare could lead millions of people to lose their health care coverage according to a presentation given to state governors meeting Saturday in Washington.

It estimates the number of people covered by Obamacare through the individual insurance market could be slashed by as much as 51 percent in states that chose not to expand Medicaid coverage and by 30 percent in states that chose -- that did expand the federal-state health program for the poor.

So can the president guarantee that no one who has coverage right now will lose it under his plan?

SANDERS: Look, what I know that the president can promise is what he's been saying, is that this isn't just a repeal program, that we absolutely have to repeal it but replace it with something that's better.

George, even Democrats will admit that Obamacare is simply not sustainable. It's collapsing under itself. It cannot maintain the track that we're on. We have to make big changes. I think both Republicans and Democrats agree with that. This was a program that was shoved through with so many problems and we're still every day finding out new problems to this program. We know that we can't just repeal it and not do anything else. We have to repeal it and we have to replace it with something better. That's what this president's committed to doing --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's what I want to ask you about right there.

SANDERS: -- and that's exactly what we're working to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say replace it with something better. So does that mean that no one who has coverage now will lose it?

SANDERS: I know that the goal is that we make sure that people don't lose their coverage and that we have to put a high priority on people that need it most. We have to lower costs and we have to make sure that the people that need insurance the very most are covered. But at the same time, George, we cannot survive under the current system. We have to make a massive overall to the health care system in America, because it is simply just not sustainable, and everybody agrees with that. There is nobody that argues that we're on a track that we can maintain. So, we're looking at every possible way to do exactly that: repeal a terrible , failed system and replace with something better.

STEPHANOPOULOS; Again, so I'll have to ask one more time. You keep say replace it with something better. So will the president guarantee that he won't sign a plan that will cause people that have coverage now to lose it?

SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to speak specifically for the president on that topic, but what I can say is he's made it a high priority and a number one focus that we make sure that people that have insurance continue their insurance, particularly those in the highest need.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He promised during the campaign that he's not going to touch Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid. Can he stand by that?

SANDERS: Look, the president is committed to doing that. And I think that so far, as you have noticed over the last 30 days, he's done exactly what he said he is going to do. And I don't see any reason to start thinking differently.

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