Spicer Tells Off Acosta for Defending Liberals, ObamaCare; ‘Get Outside’ and ‘Talk’ to Amercians

Amidst the snow on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer held a daily briefing and he tussled with CNN’s Jim Acosta after Acosta defended ObamaCare and wondered if President Trump is “okay with that there are going to be millions of people who aren’t going to have coverage.”

While never reaching the level of an epic shoutfest or duels between Acosta and Trump (see here and here), Acosta showed his naivety while Spicer explained how millions haven’t bought health care despite the individual mandate because the current system is unaffordable.

Acosta first followed up on questions about the investigation into whether there’s any proof President Obama spied on Trump’s team before unleashing this liberal hardball:

You were saying that you know, people, if they can’t get access to insurance, they don’t have coverage, but if you remove the individual mandate, you are going to have people who are not going to buy coverage. They’re not going to buy insurance and so, getting back to the Congressional Budget Office score, would you concede that there will be some coverage losses? Perhaps in the millions? That there will be millions of people who will not have health insurance as a result of what you are doing? 

Spicer calmly pointed to the fact that ObamaCare hasn’t ensured everyone and the individual mandate has been a negative since “13 million people have asked for a hardship exception and then 6.5-plus million people have determined to pay the penalty” instead of buy health care.

<<>>

Acosta spoke right past those statistics that these folks (along with another group in, say, illegal immigrants) are already free riders. Nonetheless, Acosta complained:

The mandate forces people to buy insurance and if they don’t have insurance, then you have a free rider problem in the system which is a problem in the Obama administration. When you have free riders and those folks get into a car accident and show up at the emergency room and then health care is much more expensive. 

The press secretary responded that, “under ObamaCare, they’ve created a system to force people to buy plans that they did not like that were mandated by the government in terms of what was part of the plan, what it had to cover, the deductible.”

Spicer also took a jab at liberal critics (see Acosta, Jim as an example) for promoting how many people are insured when, in reality, all that’s done is give people “a cute, little plastic card that I can wave around” but do nothing with because the plan is too expensive.

Sign Up for MRC Newsletters!

Acosta dug in deeper, lamenting that “at least it will get you coverage” and be able to state you have insurance “[i]f you show up at the emergency room if you’ve been hit by a bus, you’re not going to be just paying out of pocket to the hospital until you die.”

The banter pushed on with Acosta standing up for ObamaCare, boasting of how “generous” the subsidies are and defending “the other side” against the GOP plan:

SPICER: But if they actually had choices and had a plan option that was down at a budget they could afford, there is a higher likelihood they would buy a plan that was A, tailored to them and B, actually that they could afford. So, to your question about catastrophic, right now, that’s not an option. In a third of all the counties in the United States, they only have one choice. In five states, they have one choice. Can you imagine if they could actually buy a plan? 

ACOSTA: It’s just a talking point, but at least there is coverage in those states. That option of coverage. If you pull this away, then you’re going to have people in a lot of states that don’t have access to any coverage —

SPICER: No, no. That’s not — totally false.

ACOSTA: — because they can’t afford with it the tax credits you’re providing. I mean, there is an argument to the other side of this.

SPICER: Hold on. No, there’s not. Actually, I don’t —

ACOSTA: The subsidies are more generous[.]

SPICER: You’ve got 175 million Americans that get their insurance through their employer and frankly, right now, they’re the ones paying who keep paying higher and higher premiums because a system that was only supposed to help people get access and require them, get a government — government-mandated, government-run health care[.]

When Acosta fretted that seniors are concerned about losing their Medicare, Spicer hit back at the liberal journalist by telling him that “I think you need to maybe get outside and talk to some of them because more and more Medicaid recipients — in fact, more and more Medicare recipients aren’t able to get coverage.”

“Again, it’s one thing to have a card. It’s another thing to walk into a doctor’s office and them to tell you we no longer accept Medicaid anymore. That’s not care,” emphasized Spicer.

Acosta concluded his question by wondering if Trump is “okay with that there are going to be millions of people who aren’t going to have coverage.” Spicer replied that “the President’s goal is to provide health care coverage to every American and right now, they’re not getting that and by giving them more choices at a lower cost, more Americans can either buy health care for their family or themselves or in a lot of cases for their business without paying a penalty.”

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from March 14’s White House Press Briefing:

White House Press Briefing
March 14, 2017
2:52 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: You were saying that you know, people, if they can’t get access to insurance, they don’t have coverage, but —

SEAN SPICER: Right. 

ACOSTA: — if you remove the individual mandate, you are going to have people who are not going to buy coverage. They’re not going to buy insurance and so, getting back to the Congressional Budget Office score, would you concede that there will be some coverage losses? Perhaps in the millions? That there will be millions of people who will not have health insurance as a result of what you are doing? 

SPICER: Well, again. Sure, except you have to look at the current situation. You are mandated by law to insurance right now under ObamaCare. 13 million people have asked for a hardship exception and then 6.5-plus million people have determined to pay the penalty. So currently, if you — if we look at the universe and say it’s roughly 30 million people. Only nine million people engaged in the exchanges when required by law. The majority, almost two thirds, if my back of the envelope math is right, about two thirds, have chosen to either apply for a hardship exemption or pay a penalty. So —

ACOSTA: The mandate forces people to buy insurance and if they don’t have insurance, then you have a free rider problem in the system —

SPICER: Right but look at what’s happening now. So, to —

ACOSTA: — which is a problem in the Obama administration. When you have free riders and those folks get into a car accident —

SPICER: No, no, but those folks — right —

ACOSTA: — and show up at the emergency room and then health care is much more expensive. 

SPICER: But they do — right — but my point, Jim, is that the way the system was constructed under ObamaCare, they’ve created a system to force people to buy plans that they did not like that were mandated by the government in terms of what was part of the plan, what it had to cover, the deductible, et cetera, et cetera and yet, roughly two thirds of the people either paid a penalty or asked for a hardship exemption. They didn’t do it and so the idea is actually if you could bring down costs and choices and allow people to find a plan that fit their budget that was tailored to their needs, there’s actually a higher likelihood they will find something they want at a price they can afford as to right now custom is I get a plan that I’m forced to buy that has a deductible that I can’t afford but I’ve got a cute, little plastic card that I can wave around. 

ACOSTA: But at least it will get you coverage. 

SPICER: No, no. That’s not true.

ACOSTA: If you show up at the emergency room if you’ve been hit by a bus, you’re not going to be just paying out of pocket to the hospital until you die. You’re going to have some sort of catastrophic coverage that will make sure you have insurance. That is the point, yeah.

SPICER: Thank you. That’s a great advertisement for — thank you. 

ACOSTA: You’re welcome, but —

SPICER: That’s exactly what the President is trying to do because right now, you have got — of the attempt to get 30 million people covered, 14.4 or 14.5 million people applied for a hardship exemption. They’re exactly the people that you are talking about. Another 6.5 million people have asked — have paid the penalty and don’t have it. So, we have roughly 20 million people in this country who were supposed to be paying — required to buy health care that have chosen not do it, who fall into exactly the category you are talking about. The question — 

ACOSTA: But that number is massive by the year 2026 —
                                
SPICER: — right. And so the point that I’m —

ACOSTA: — more than 20 million Americans. 

(….)

ACOSTA: Medicare is government run. 

SPICER: Right and what’s happening —

ACOSTA: How about senior citizens screaming that they don’t want to get rid of their Medicare. 

SPICER: I think you need to maybe get outside and talk to some of them because more and more Medicaid recipients — in fact, more and more Medicare recipients aren’t able to get coverage. Again, it’s one thing to have a card. It’s another thing to walk into a doctor’s office and them to tell you we no longer accept Medicaid anymore. That’s not care.

ACOSTA: But the President’s okay with — 

SPICER: No he’s not.

ACOSTA: — that there are going to be millions of people who aren’t going to have coverage.

This post originally appeared on NewsBusters

.

Leave a Reply