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AP Fact Check: Trump Considers 20 Million People 'Very Few'

FILE - Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, who are also opponents of Colorado's GOP-led plan to undo Colorado's state-run insurance exchange gather for a rally organized by the national Save My Care Bus Tour, on the state Capitol steps in Denver, Feb.
FILE - Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, who are also opponents of Colorado's GOP-led plan to undo Colorado's state-run insurance exchange gather for a rally organized by the national Save My Care Bus Tour, on the state Capitol steps in Denver, Feb.

President Donald Trump said Friday his predecessor's health care law covers "very few people," as he minimized the impact of replacing it. That's only true if you consider more than 20 million people to be very few.

Here's a look at his statement at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday and some other recent assertions:

TRUMP: "Obamacare covers very few people."

THE FACTS: More than 20 million people are covered by the two major components of former President Barack Obama's health care law: expanded Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance.

The Medicaid expansion, adopted by 31 states and Washington, D.C., covers about 11 million low-income people, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The fate of the expansion is a major sticking point as Republicans try to complete their repeal plan. Sixteen states with GOP governors have expanded their Medicaid programs.

The other more visible component is The federal website and state-run online insurance markets have signed up 12.2 million people for this year, according to an Associated Press count earlier this month, based on federal and state reports.

This is lower than the 12.7 million who initially enrolled for 2016. But it is not dramatically lower when considering the problems the markets have had with rising premiums and dwindling insurer participation, not to mention Trump's vow to repeal the program.

Altogether, since Obama's law passed in 2010, the number of uninsured people has dropped by about 20 million and the uninsured rate has declined below 9 percent, a historic low.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48.6 million Americans were uninsured in 2010. Through the first nine months of last year, that figure was down to 28.2 million.

Although employers also added coverage as the economy recovered, experts say the vast majority of the coverage gains are due to Obama's law.

However, the progress in reducing the number of uninsured people appears to have stalled. The 28.2 million uninsured last year, from January to September, is not statistically different from the 28.6 million uninsured for all of 2015, according to the CDC.


TRUMP at CPAC: "We're getting bad people out of this country." On Thursday: "We're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out, we're getting really bad dudes out of this country, at a rate nobody has ever seen before. ... It's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you've read about like never before and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally."

THE FACTS: Trump is broadly embellishing his brief track record on immigration and wrongly branding the deportation effort a military operation.

The number of people expelled from the country since Trump took office Jan. 20 has not been released. No available data supports his claim that immigrants in the country illegally are being expelled at a rate "nobody has ever seen before." Deportations were brisk when Obama was president.

Altogether in January, 16,643 people were deported, a drop from December (20,395), but a number that is similar to monthly deportations in early 2015 and 2016.

This month, Homeland Security officials have said 680 people were arrested in a weeklong effort to find criminal immigrants living in the United States illegally. Three-quarters of those people had been convicted of crimes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. The remaining 25 percent had not. The government has not provided information about who was arrested in that roundup, so it's impossible to determine how many gang members or drug lords were in that group.

That effort was largely planned before Trump took office and was alternately described by the administration as a routine enforcement effort and a signal of Trump's pledge to take a harder line on illegal immigration. During the Obama administration similar operations were carried out that yielded thousands of arrests.

The 680 arrests were not carried out in a military operation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, responsible for finding and deporting immigrants in the country illegally, is a civilian law enforcement agency.

Trump plans to increase enforcement, but Kelly contradicted him Thursday over the nature of that initiative:

"There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Kelly said while visiting Mexico. "There will be no — repeat, no — mass deportations." Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the president meant to say that the operation was carried out with military precision.

Trump and Lockheed

TRUMP, at a White House meeting Thursday with manufacturers, again claimed credit for a $700 million savings in the military's contract with Lockheed Martin for the F-35 fighter jet. Speaking to the defense contractor's CEO, Marillyn Hewson, he said: "Over $700 million. Do you think Hillary would have cost you $700 million? I assume you wanted her to win."

THE FACTS: Cost savings for the F-35 began before Trump's inauguration and predate his complaints about the price tag.

The head of the Air Force program announced significant price reductions December 19 — after Trump had tweeted about the cost but weeks before Trump met with Hewson about the issue on January 13.

"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of additional F-35 cost savings as a result of President Trump's intervention," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the aerospace consulting firm Teal Group. He said Trump appears to be taking credit for prior-year budget decisions and for work already done by managers at the Pentagon who took action before the presidential election to reduce costs.