President Donald Trump met with health insurance CEOs this morning at the White House to try to win their support for the Republican revamp of Obamacare.
"2017 is going to be a catastrophic year for Obamacare for patients," said Trump, saying the public health care exchanges are "going to absolutely implode." He cited rising premiums as a factor. Premiums were steadily rising for all insurance policies for years and experts said the hikes for Obamacare were partly due to them initially being priced artificially low.
"We have a plan that's going to be fantastic," said Trump. "A very competitive plan, costs will come down, health care will go up very substantially. People will like it a lot."
"It's going to be special. I think you're going to like what you hear," Trump told the insurance executives.
Versions of the GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have surfaced in recent weeks that emphasize tax credits and health savings accounts, while cutting subsidies and Medicaid funding. It also gets rid of the employer and individual mandates that required providing and carrying health insurance.
Only 12 percent of Americans said they had a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in health insurance companies in a NBC/WSJ poll from December, 2016. In contrast, 54 percent said they had "very little" or "none at all."
The meeting included executives from UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kaiser Permanente, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates 22 million Americans would lose health insurance if Obamacare were repealed.
The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.
"When we all work together, we can make health care better," a statement released by the AHIP insurance industry trade group following the meeting said.
"The Administration has taken several recent steps to demonstrate its commitment to a stable, effective transition that works for consumers, and we look forward to Congress taking additional, much-needed action soon."