White House: Beshear Is Wrong, Obamacare Is Failing

Spicer slams 'extreme' rhetoric suggesting people will die from repeal, replace of ACA

by Jim Stinson | Updated 01 Mar 2017 at 8:43 PM

The White House pushed back Wednesday against suggestions that people will die if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “a bit extreme” for former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to say on Wednesday morning that people will die if Republicans make good on their repeated pledges to repeal and replace the behemoth 2010 health care law.

“More and more people are opting out. [Obamacare] is collapsing on its own.”

Spicer also noted the 2010 health care is folding on its own — it really doesn’t need any help.

“More and more people are opting out” of Obamacare, Spicer said, in response to a question from LifeZette at Wednesday’s press gaggle in the West Wing briefing room. “It is collapsing on its own.”

“The reality is that more people are having problems right now,” Spicer continued. “They’re losing their doctor.  They’re losing the plan that they liked.”

Spicer suggested he was surprised by the tone of Beshear’s remarks.

“The president last night extended an olive branch to Democrats,” Spicer said.

Beshear, the governor of Kentucky from 2008 to 2016, gave the Democratic response, and it was so poorly received thateven MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mocked it, calling it “small and stunty.”

Compared to Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, Beshear stumbled to offer any real alternative vision for the country. So on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Beshear turned to a version of “Mediscare,” the tried and tested Democratic game of suggesting the Republicans would “kill Granny” with cuts to Medicare.

Only this time, Beshear suggested people of all ages would be the target of fatal cuts.

"There are people out here that get affected by all the policies that he is talking about doing. With the Affordable Care Act, you know, if they pull back coverage from millions of Americans, people are going to die out here," Beshear said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"That may sound dramatic but that's just the facts and doctors will tell you that," said Beshear. "It's time that he understands that real people are involved here."

Spicer said the facts about Obamacare have been repeated before. He noted the program is a failure by Democrats' own standards.

It's likely a talking point Spicer will return to often. On Monday, Spicer told reporters that by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's own standards, Obamacare is failing.

Pelosi, then House speaker, was the key figure in passing Obamacare in Congress in 2010.

Spicer ticked off Pelosi's contradictions: "[Pelosi] said, 'It had three goals: One, to lower the cost, the other to expand benefits, and the third to improve and increase access.'"

"So let's go through her criteria," Spicer said with some relish. "Lowering costs: While this year all four tiers of Obamacare insurance plans are facing double-digit increases in average premiums. Just to take a look at one set of premiums, for standard silver plans in the states, 63-percent increase in Tennessee, 69-percent increase in Oklahoma, and a staggering 116-percent increase in Arizona."

"On expanding benefits: In reality, the new law's mandates have led to max cancellations of coverage, soaring out-of-pocket costs, and declining enrollment figures," Spicer continued. "Millions are choosing to pay a tax over buying the government-mandate[d] insurance."

Finally: "Increased access: With insurance [companies] fleeing the marketplace, Americans are facing a dwindling number of insurance choices with 17 percent of Americans left with only one insurer option available in their exchange," Spicer concluded.

Spicer told reporters at Wednesday's gaggle that an Obamacare repeal and replacement could be shared in a matter of weeks.

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