- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sen. John Thune pushed back Tuesday against claims that the Republican health care bill is “immoral.”

Mr. Thune was reacting to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s comment at a joint press conference with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday. Mr. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said the bill is “immoral” due to cuts to coverage and Medicaid.

“We think it’s immoral that people have to pay what they’re paying today to get insurance,” Mr. Thune, South Dakota Republican, said on CNN. “We want health care insurance to be affordable to everybody.”

Mr. Thune also questioned Mr. Hickenlooper’s claim that 100,000 people would die within 10 years due to the bill’s estimated cuts in coverage.

“I don’t know where he’s getting that estimate. I think there’s a lot of rhetoric being thrown around out there,” he said.

Mr. Thune explained that a majority of those the CBO claims would lose coverage are those who would choose to opt out of the insurance market with the repeal of the individual mandate.

“Fourteen million of the 22 million the CBO pointed out wouldn’t be covered because they chose not to be covered. And basically what we’re saying in this bill is that people shouldn’t have to buy something they don’t want and can’t afford,” he explained.

Mr. Thune also added that there would be a temporary spike in coverage next year, but that premiums would drop 30 percent by 2020.

“People are going to look at this differently depending on where they are, but overall what we’re trying to do really is stabilize the market, which this does. And yes there’s a slight spike in premiums next year, but then the CBO said in 2020 they come down 30 percent and in 2026 they come down 20 percent. So you start to see that reduction in premiums and makes medicaid more sustainable,” he said.

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