23 million fewer Americans insured under House GOP bill, says CBO

The report from the Congressional Budget Office also said federal deficits would fall by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the bill, which was approved this month by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and is called the American Health Care Act.

The finding is a blow to arguments from House GOP leaders who managed to get their bill over the finish line by arguing that a last-minute addition of $8 billion would bolster protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Trumpcare 2.0 will still force millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, raise premiums, and put critical health care services beyond the reach of hard-working families. Some 14 million fewer people would qualify for Medicaid in 2026, the same number as in CBO's original assessment.

One amendment would allow states to opt out of a popular Obamacare provision that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher rates, as well as one that required insurers to cover 10 essential health benefits such as maternity care and prescription drugs.

The House narrowly passed the legislation May 4 after adding language negotiated between Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chair of the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus and Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., who until this week chaired the more moderate Tuesday Group. The CBO score comes as Senate Republicans are working intensely behind the scenes to craft a compromise bill that can get the 50 votes it would need to pass the chamber, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie.

Congressional estimates show that the tax cuts in the House Republicans' health care package have shrunk by $69 billion.

Complicating matters, CBO scorekeepers also found that the Republican legislation, if implemented, would begin destabilizing markets across the country by the end of this decade: "A$3 bout one-sixth of the population resides in areas in which the nongroup market would start to become unstable beginning in 2020".

In states that obtained those waivers, it would mean lower premiums for people buying individual insurance.

It was the budget office's first analysis of the bill that passed the House May 4 with only GOP votes. "They've said that many more people would be insured than are actually insured". And the news doesn't appear to be good for House Republicans.

'The CBO has a long track record of being way, way off in its modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens, ' noted Michael Reed, the research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee.

Democrats pounced on the new report moments after it was released.

The recent revisions to the House GOP bill would slightly lessen the harsh impact of the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare.

  • Larry Hoffman