(CNSNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that a “big difference” between Obamacare and the House GOP Obamacare replacement bill is you don’t have to wait until Congress passes the bill to see what’s in it.
Spicer said before Congress passed Obamacare, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it,” but the American Health Care Act - the House GOP version of repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act - is available to read now.
“One of the things that’s important to understand about this process, that’s very different from what the Democrats did, you’ll recall then-Speaker Pelosi said you’re going to have to read the bill to know what’s in it. I think there’s a big difference This is the bill. It’s right here. It’s on the website,” Spicer said.
“We’re going through regular order. If you go to the House of Representatives’ website, Speaker Paul Ryan’s website, it’s listed. Everybody can read it, and it’s going to go through what they call regular order,” he said.
Spicer said the Republicans’ bill won’t be forced on anyone, and it will go through the normal legislative process so that everyone can provide input and make amendments.
“We’re not jamming this down anybody’s throat. It’s going to go through a committee process. All parties involved, all representatives in the House will be able to have input into it. I think that’s the way to conduct this process, is to do it to allow people to watch the process happen in the committees, allow members of Congress to have their input in it, to make amendments, to see that we get the best bill that achieves the goal for the American people,” Spicer said.
“When it was done the last time, it was jammed down people’s throat, and look what happened. You had 974 pages that people struggled to read afterwards and figure out what had just gotten passed, and the consequences were frankly devastating,” Spicer said.
The American Health Care Act, in comparison, is only 123 pages - 57 of which are repeal-related and the other 66 pages are for the health care bill itself. Copies of both the GOP House repeal and replace plan and the final version of Obamacare were on display at the White House press conference.
“So to your point about keeping your doctor, in a lot of cases you’ve lost your doctor for a couple reasons,” Spicer said referring to a reporter’s question about whether the administration can commit to saying that if the replacement bill is passed, that people will be able to keep their doctor and their health care plan.
“One, they may not participate in the plan. They may not take insurance at all anymore. Three, they may not take Medicaid ,and the list goes on and on about why they might not be there, or your plan, the plan that you got is no longer accessible,” Spicer said.
“As the secretary mentioned, one third of all counties in the United States no longer take Medicaid-- or excuse me, have only one plan that you can choose from, so it’s a fact right now that in most cases, you have no choice. In many cases, you’ve lost that ability,” he said. “Our goal is to actually add more choice and more competition.
“Right now, the government tells you, you must have this plan or you will pay a penalty and even within this plan, here’s what you have to have. We’ve lost the element of choice in health care, and by bringing all of that back, I think there’s a higher degree of likelihood that you’re going to get the plan that you want, and you’re going to get the doctor you want, because it will be your choice - not the government’s choice - and that’s a big, big difference,” Spicer said.
“This plan was jammed down everybody’s throat, and the consequences took their plans away. It took their doctors away, and it drove up cost,” Spicer said pointing to the copy of Obamacare sitting on a table near the podium.
In contrast, “This plan allows more competition, more people to enter it, and the American people and patients to make a decision on what plan they want. If they have a plan and a doctor they like, then they’re going to choose a plan that allows them to continue with that doctor, but there’s going to be more competition and more choice, not less, and that’s frankly what you have now,” Spicer said, pointing to the copy of the American Health Care Act.