Budget office set to release report on House GOP health bill

- The CBO says starting in 2020, for about half of the United States, the new health care bill would likely allow healthy people to choose between a premium based on the community rating or based on their own expected health care costs.

Democrats have long opposed repealing the Affordable Care Act and have instead tried to convince Republicans to work toward fixing problems associated with the law.

The CBO's analysis of the first two versions of the AHCA, the second of which was pulled before even getting a vote in the House, noted that 24 million Americans would lose coverage by 2026.

Congress' official budget analyst is projecting that the House Republican health care bill would produce 23 million more uninsured people and costly, perhaps unaffordable coverage for the seriously ill.

The Senate is preparing to rewrite the measure before holding a vote.

Republicans dismissed some of the report's conclusions while acknowledging the proposed savings.

"They're going to have to do something on Medicaid", he said, "and that something is a real question".

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the findings underscore the GOP belief that "coverage is meaningless if you can't afford it". It squeaked through the House on a 217-213 vote. Republican senators have said they're moving in their own direction.

The CBO also reported that the AHCA would slash $834 million from Medicaid, the bulk of which would be diverted to tax cuts.

Hospitals could lose significant revenue because far fewer people will have insurance and insurers are anxious about the affordability of the tax structure and proposed major changes in Medicaid financing.

The CBO estimates that 14 million of those expected to lose benefits are now covered under Medicaid, the federal insurance program for the poor.

The office assessed the bill would reduce federal deficits by $119 million over the next 10 years, and would lower premiums "in part because the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs".

To facilitate the analysis, CBO and JCT examined three general approaches states could take to implement the bill. The CBO said markets for people to buy individual insurance plans could then become "unstable" in states that choose to waive the Obamacare requirements for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions and essential health benefits. Insurance companies would be allowed to raise premiums on people whose coverage lapses. The agency estimated that about one-sixth of the population - more than 50 million people - live in states that would make substantial changes under the waivers. In those states, CBO and JCT expect that, overall, average premiums in the nongroup market would be roughly 20 percent lower in 2026 than under current law, primarily because, on average, insurance policies would provide fewer benefits.

Our job is to come together and improve the Affordable Care Act, lower deductibles, lower co-payments, lower prescription drug costs.

According to the CBO, "Over time, it would become more hard for less healthy people (including people with pre-existing medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly". Democrats also blasted the bill and said the CBO report proved it would be catastrophic for millions of people who would lose health insurance.

  • Leroy Wright