'Obamacare is imploding': Donald Trump says 2017 will be worst year for healthcare yet

Mr Trump is intent on carrying through with his promise to replace Obamacare

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Donald Trump has claimed that the Republican plan to replace Obamacare will “save the day” – despite independent analysis suggesting that millions of his supporters are set to lose out.

At a White House meeting with people affected by the Obama healthcare law, Mr Trump predicted that rates for health insurance will go “down, down, down” if Congress passes the new plan. 

Republicans introduced legislation to replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act last week. They claim the new plan will provide Americans with better coverage, even though several organisations have predicted that many people, especially supporters of Mr Trump, are likely to suffer.

Mr Trump said that prices for coverage would come down and promised that Americans will be able to pick the coverage plan and the doctor they want. “We are not going to have one-size-fits-all,” Mr Trump said

Analysis by The Los Angeles Times, however, suggested that lower-income, older voters in conservative, rural parts of the country – the sort of people who overwhelmingly turned out for the New York tycoon – stand to lose the most.

The newspaper said among those hit the hardest under the proposed replacement would be 60-year-olds with annual incomes of $30,000, particularly in rural areas where healthcare costs are higher and Obamacare subsidies are greater.

In nearly 1,500 counties across the country, such individuals stand to lose more than $6,000 a year in federal insurance subsidies; 90 per cent of such counties backed Mr Trump, the newspaper’s investigation showed.

Health Secretary points to smaller stack of paper to prove new healthcare bill is better than Obamacare

And 68 of the 70 counties where these consumers would suffer the largest losses supported Mr Trump in November.

It said that the states most affected by the Republican health plan would be parts of Alaska, Arizona, Nebraska, Tennessee and Oklahoma, where Obamacare insurance subsidies have been crucial in making high-priced insurance affordable. All five states went for Mr Trump. Also hit hard would be parts of key swing states that backed the Republican candidate.

Separately, the independent Kaiser Family Foundation said the bill will offer less help to Americans living in rural areas, the elderly and the poor. 

The Brookings Institute has projected the Congressional Budget Office will report that up to 15 million fewer Americans will be covered under the Republican plan.

Despite such predictions, Mr Trump’s health secretary has claimed “nobody will be worse off financially” under the Republicans’ plan.

Tom Price, a doctor who has long expressed a desire to scrap Obamacare told NBC: “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through, understanding that they’ll have choices that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not that the government forces them to buy.”

He added: “So there’s cost that needs to come down, and we believe we’re going to be able to do that through this system. There’s coverage that’s going to go up.”

As for Mr Trump, he has dismissed concerns over the plan, comparing Mr Obama's healthcare law to the former president’s popularity. 

Mr Trump said of Mr Obama, “when he left, people liked him. When he was here, people didn’t like him so much.” He says that’s “human nature”. 

Mr Trump added that the media is making the current law look wonderful. The opinion was backed by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who said on Monday that reporting on Obamacare “makes it seem like it’s all rainbows and puppies”. Mr Spicer added that President Trump is “fully committed” to the replacement healthcare plan.

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