Flashback: Can White House pledge universal coverage under Obamacare replacement?

Senate Republicans unveiled their version of an Obamacare replacement on Thursday, but there is still a long way to go before any legislation reaches President Donald Trump's desk.

Earlier this year, Mr. Trump promised "insurance for everybody" under his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare – a pledge of universal coverage he'd also made several times during his presidential campaign. When Face the Nation spoke with White House budget director Mick Mulvaney in May, host John Dickerson asked if the administration would uphold that pledge.

Senate GOP unveils health care bill

"I think everybody will have coverage that's better than what they had under Obamacare," Mulvaney said.

The president says "everyone in the nation," Dickerson followed up. "Even Obamacare didn't cover everyone."

"Well, what we talked about before is the access to it," Mulvaney replied. "Remember what Obamacare gave you. Obamacare gave you insurance, but not health care. A lot of folks who were technically insured either couldn't afford the premiums or couldn't afford the co-pay. And that's what we have been driving at, giving people the care that they want, the quality that they need, the affordability that they deserve. That's what we are talking about, actual medical care, not just insurance."

Dickerson tried one more time to pin the budget director down on the question of universal coverage: "The president, when he says everyone will have health care, that sounds like a pretty simple thing to either say, yes or no, that is going to happen."

"We will look forward to doing that," Mulvaney responded.

During a previous appearance on Face the Nation in March, Mulvaney said the administration was not seeking to provide universal coverage. "The only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail if they don't have it," Mulvaney said at that time. "And we are not going to do that."

"Clearly the government mandate doesn't work," he explained in March. "The better process, the better function is exactly what we're trying to do now, which is to encourage people and enable them to buy a policy they want and can afford."

A June CBS poll found that only 15 percent of Americans think that the new legislation will help them, while 33 percent thought it would hurt them. The majority of Americans, 57 percent, wanted Obamacare to be changed instead of repealed entirely.  

More than 12.2 million people signed up for coverage this year, despite Mr. Trump's promise to repeal and replace the legislation.