Health and Science

Cleveland Clinic CEO: Here's what I don't like about the GOP plan to replace Obamacare

Examining GOP'S health care plan: Dr. Toby Cosgrove

Cleveland Clinic CEO and Trump advisor Dr. Toby Cosgrove told CNBC on Thursday the new GOP health proposal as written would increase the cost to patients.

Recognizing the complexity of changing health care, Cosgrove argued on "Squawk Box" there's no way to just get rid of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and go back to the way it was before the 2010 law. There's also no political viability for "single payer" universal health care controlled by the government, he added.

But he said the goal should still be having "good care" and "people covered."

"The [Republican] bill that it is right now, I'm concerned that it's going to wind up costing the actual patients; they're not going to get the kind of coverage they need," Cosgrove added.

Backed by Trump, the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare moved forward in two House committees in a marathon session that stretched into the early morning hours of Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants a vote this month so the bill can move to the Senate.

As health care solutions are debated, Cosgrove said it's important to know how treatment is paid for in the United States. There won't be much change in employer plans and Medicare, he argued.

"The things that are changing is the individual payment and also Medicaid," he added. "Probably the most important one is Medicaid. That is what has expanded the coverage across the United States with about 15 million people being covered."

The Medicaid expansion under Obamacare has provided hospitals payment for low-income patients who were not covered before, Cosgrove said, and hospitals need the money.

"Hospitals are running at very thin margins. ... Fifty-two percent lost money on operations," he said. "We all have skin in the game. If hospitals start to fail across the country, we got a problem."

The GOP plan "clearly puts hospitals in a much worse position" if it were implemented as written now, said Cosgrove, who is among the 16 CEOs on President Donald Trump's Strategic & Policy Forum. The group is chaired by Blackstone co-founder and chief Stephen Schwarzman.

— Reuters contributed to this report.