House Speaker Paul Ryan punts when asked by Face the Nation host John Dickerson how many people will lose their health insurance when they repeal the Affordable Care Act. “It’s up to people.”
March 12, 2017

As we discussed here at C&L earlier this week, House Speaker Paul Ryan -- who the media just loves to portray as some sort of health care policy "wonk" -- just proved to everyone that he has absolutely no idea whatsoever how insurance is supposed to work and that young and healthy people pay into the system knowing they may not need the coverage now, but one of these days they may be the ones facing an expensive illness and be grateful the coverage is there.

The Republicans' plan for repeal and replacement of the ACA is nothing more than one giant transfer of wealth, which will make income disparity even worse in the United States and knock millions of people off of their existing insurance coverage. Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan have to know that this thing is one giant stinking lemon of a law that is going to harm the very people that put Donald Trump into office, and it will break his promise that no one will lose their existing health care coverage and to protect Medicare and Medicaid.

That didn't stop Ryan from trying to pretend that it's not really going to be his or the rest of the GOP's fault if people no longer have health insurance in the end... because freedom, baby!

On Sunday, Trumpcare architect-in-chief Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he didn’t know how many people would lose their insurance under his Obamacare replacement plan.

In a revealing exchange with CBS News, he suggested that it was “up to people” how far the uninsured rate would climb.

“Here’s the premise of your question: Are you going to stop mandating people buy health insurance?” he said. “People are going to do what they want to do with their lives, because we believe in individual freedom in this country. So the question is, are we providing a system where people have access to health care insurance if they choose to do so?”

In a sense, Ryan is correct that it would be “up to people” how much health coverage would shrink. Trumpcare provides more “freedom” than Obamacare by scrapping the individual mandate — the provision of the Affordable Care Act which penalizes individuals who choose to go without health insurance — and replacing it with a new system that punishes anyone who tries to leave the insurance pool and then come back later on. [...]

In his CBS interview, Ryan suggested that the insured rate would drop because, without the mandate, people would be more free to choose life without health insurance. But those who make that choice will disproportionately be the young and healthy, and by leaving the insurance market they would end up driving premiums sky high for those who remain. It’s likely that health insurance would then become far too expensive even for many of those who do want it.

That’s a strange kind of liberty: A world where everyone has, in theory, the abstract freedom to buy health insurance, but only a select few can actually afford it.

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