Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont, was at the front of the line to criticize the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act following the release of a Congressional Budget Office report indicating the plan may kick up to 24 million people off health insurance.
"Throwing 24 million Americans off of health insurance, raising premiums for older low-income Americans, defunding Planned Parenthood and giving $275 billion in tax breaks to the top 2% is a disgusting and immoral proposal," Sanders said in a statement.
"Last January, Donald Trump promised that his health care plan would provide 'insurance for everybody' that would be 'much less expensive and much better.' Now we know that was just another lie."
"The reality is that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan's bill is not a health care plan," Sanders concluded. "It's a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest people in America. It must be defeated."
Sanders' opposition presages a looming battle over the legislation, which Republicans tried to fast-track in an effort to limit debate.
The GOP plan would replace existing health care subsidies with tax credits that would offer less aid to lower-income people on the individual market and slash Medicaid spending. A Vox estimate concluded it would also significantly raise premiums for virtually everyone on the individual markets over 25, particularly those ages 55 to 64, who could see costs rise by over $6,000 annually.
The GOP plan would effectively double the number of uninsured Americans from 28 million to 52 million by the year 2026, according to the CBO. The unflattering report has resulted in denunciations from Democrats and concern from some moderate Republicans, while congressional conservatives have simultaneously insisted the plan does not go far enough, leaving it with a rough future ahead in the legislative process.
Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price have come out against the CBO, saying the alculations are incorrect. House Speaker Paul Ryan took another approach, touting the cost savings of the legislation while avoiding mentioning the savings come from slashing Medicaid expansion and reducing subsidies that helped Americans afford health insurance.