House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Thursday that the estimate by the Congressional Budget Office purporting 22 million fewer people would be insured under a GOP Obamacare replacement bill was a "bogus number."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) pulled the Better Care Reconciliation Act this week when four Republicans announced their opposition, effectively dooming its chances of passage. McConnell is now seeking passage of a clean repeal of Obamacare, with a delay to allow for a vote on replacement later.
The CBO released its forecast Thursday that 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 if the bill passed.
Asked by a reporter during a press conference in Massachusetts about the CBO figure, Ryan said the Senate should still vote to repeal Obamacare and that the decline in the insured would be due in part to getting rid of Obamacare's individual mandate.
"I think that's kind of a bogus number," he said. "What they're basically saying is people will choose not to buy something that they don't want to buy if they don't have to buy it."
"Let people buy the health insurance they want to buy, and let's make sure that we put support on risk pools to support catastrophic illnesses," he added.
Ryan said not to forget that Obamacare "isn't affordable" and is "collapsing under its own weight."
"We have to step in front of this collapse and bring stability to the marketplace so that people can actually get affordable health insurance, and so that is what we're trying to do here, and I really don't think that statistic is a valid one," he said.
Ryan spearheaded a House Republican effort to pass an Obamacare repeal called the American Health Care Act. However, the Senate's struggle to pass its own health care bill has effectively halted the efforts in Congress to get the repeal to President Donald Trump's desk.