House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Monday that he was "encouraged" by the Congressional Budget Office's report on the American Health Care Act, the GOP's bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
In an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Ryan sought to downplay that the report showed 24 million more could be uninsured under the AHCA.
The Wisconsin Republican said the estimates were better than he expected.
"If you read this entire report, I'm pretty encouraged by it, and it actually exceeded my expectations," Ryan said.
The House speaker also immediately cast doubt on the estimates for the number of uninsured. He said the reason the uninsured rate would increase was because of the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate, which he said would get people — willingly — out of the market.
"Of course they're going to suggest that if we don't make people do something they don't want to do, they're not going to do it," Ryan said.
The CBO report also showed that because of the AHCA's adjustment in tax credits given to consumers, the number of people who would drop out of the individual health-insurance market — the market for those without coverage through an employer or the government — would eventually cause premiums to decrease after 2019.
"What I'm encouraged with is once our reforms kick in what the CBO is telling us is it's going to lower premiums, it's going to lower premiums 10%," Ryan said. "It stabilizes the market, it's a $1.2 trillion spending cut, a $883 billion tax cut, and $372 billion in deficit reduction."
The CBO said that it projected that the market would be stable under the current ACA system and the AHCA.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney also attacked the report on behalf of the Trump administration after it was released.
Listen to Ryan's comments below:
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