CBO: House bill insures 23 million fewer Americans
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 16:47
An estimated 23 million people would lose health coverage by 2026 under Republican legislation aimed at repealing Obamacare, a non-partisan congressional agency said on Wednesday in the first calculation of the new bill's potential impact. This legislation is not a health care law, but a budget bill.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, premiums are part of the story, but we know something else that the CBO was looking at was, frankly, the overall quality of health care under this new legislation.
CBO said the current version would result in savings of $119 billion over 10 years and 23 million more uninsured people than would be expected under the current law.
On the other issue that many Republicans have recently staked nearly everything, a reduction in individual insurance premiums, CBO found that after boosting premiums initially, Trumpcare would eventually reduce average premiums-in exchange for policies offering far fewer benefits. But that would be partly because policies would typically provide fewer benefits and sicker people would be priced out, it concluded. The amount premiums would drop over the next decade would vary widely, from 10 percent to 30 percent, depending on geography, the CBO said.
"The report finds that" in states that chose to narrow the scope of EHBs, some people enrolled in nongroup insurance would experience substantial increases in what they would spend on health care".
House Speaker Paul Ryan responded Wednesday by praising the report, which did acknowledge the "slight" gain on coverage the new AHCA version offers over the previous two. In the end, it estimated that around one-sixth of the population lives in states that would seek both of those waivers.
The bill will force people to pay more for essential health benefits.
About 1/6 of the country will live in areas that waive Obamacare protections. Insurance companies would be allowed to raise premiums on people whose coverage lapses. Under the AHCA, insurers can charge older people five times as much as younger ones.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the chamber's healthcare plan would be "significantly different" from the House bill.
The score raised the stakes for Republican senators working on their own version of the bill.
GOP senators say they have no firm timetable for moving on a bill.
The tortured GOP effort to replace Obamacare, a wave of new rules affecting the marketplace next year and the Trump administration's plan not to enforce the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate also have contributed to the shaky markets. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., right, and Sen. "It's a nightmare and it's got no pulse because it's got no heart".
The CBO findings immediately led several Democrats to blast the Republican bill. It would replace Obama's tax subsidies for health insurance consumers, based mostly on income and premiums, with GOP tax credits geared more to people's ages. The bill would roll back the Medicaid expansion instituted under the Affordable Care Act, which extended the program to cover some Americans with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line. As many as 109,399 of his constituents could lose health care coverage under the bill he supported.
BCO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. "Trumpcare is as cruel as it is unsafe for the health of our citizens and the long-term prosperity of the United States".
The report incorporates the changes to the bill made just before it narrowly passed the House on May 4.
Republicans, however, touted the deficit reduction cited in the CBO, as well as the reductions in premiums that would eventually occur under the AHCA.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said, "Obamacare is broken, leaving millions of Americans with fewer choices and higher premiums". "Obamacare's rising premiums have eaten deep into the budgets of millions of Americans", McCarthy said. It makes short work of the Upton Amendment, writing that though it pushes down costs as intended, the effect "would be small because the funding would not be sufficient to substantially reduce the large increases in premiums for high-cost enrollees".