CBO: 23 million fewer Americans insured under House GOP bill

First, the good news for House Republicans: they're off the hook for ObamaCare repeal.

Republican lawmakers' third attempt at replacing the Affordable Care Act has already passed the House, but an uncertain climate in the Senate - as well as a new forecast analysis Wednesday - could dim the bill's prospects at becoming law.

The CBO said the AHCA proposal would reduce the United States budget deficit by $119 billion, significantly less than the $150 billion reduction calculated earlier, Efe news reported. That figure is similar to the the 24 million number from the previous CBO score for legislation pushed by Republicans that was never voted on.

To allay concerns about coverage of people with pre-existing illnesses, House Republicans allocated an additional $8 billion over five years in their bill to help sick people pay for insurance premiums but the CBO said the money would not be enough to help them afford coverage.

The politics of the bill haven't changed much, however.

The Congressional Budget Office says an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured in 2026 under the latest version of the House Republican health care bill. It also finds that average premiums will generally fall, though whether states decide to take waivers allowed under the plan will affect how much the costs change.

Walden offered a similar sentiment: "It appears that it improves the number of people who will be covered and premiums continue to come down even more under this proposal", he said.

The Democratic National Committee immediately responded to the score's release in an email to supporters by pointing to the 23 million who will lose coverage.

The impact on premiums would depend greatly on where one lives. A 64-year-old making $68,200 would also see their premiums increase if they live in a state that doesn't get the waivers.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration released a report Tuesday that found a 105 percent increase in average premiums for individually purchased coverage from 2013, just before Obama's statute took effect, to this year.

The report also estimates that, effective in 2019, the GOP plan would "directly alter the premiums faced by different age groups, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and raising premiums for older people". The MacArthur amendment allows states to opt to allow insurers to base their premiums for some buyers on their medical conditions-a return to the pre-ACA market in which buyers were routinely rejected for coverage or charged high prices because of their medical histories or conditions.

The CBO found that the amendment would cause instability in the individual insurance market for about a sixth of the population because it would become hard or impossible for less healthy people to purchase comprehensive coverage.

Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House have criticized the CBO for inaccuracies in its analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

"In addition, premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums, despite the additional funding that would be available under [the House plan] to help reduce premiums".

If passed into law, states, communities, and families "will struggle to provide necessary care for those who are most vulnerable", she said, including children, seniors, and people with severe physical or mental disabilities.

CBO found premiums would likely be lower in states that received the waivers, but not across the board. People living in states modifying the EHBs who used services or benefits no longer included in the EHBs would experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services.

Another change would allow states to decide whether to require insurers to cover health benefits such as maternity care and prescription drugs that are mandatory under current law.

  • Leroy Wright