GOP health bill: 23M more uninsured; sick risk higher costs

The CBO, which acts as Congress's actuarial arm, said Wednesday that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured by 23 million. Insurance companies could charge them five times more than younger ones beginning in 2018.

The bill would fulfil a long-running Republican goal - repealing and replacing much of former President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act, which provided health insurance to 20 million and came to be known as Obamacare. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said Wednesday that the analysis of the House-approved bill is simply "an important marker for the Senate", which is widely expected to rework the measure.

CBO and JCT expect that, as a outcome, the waivers in those states would have another effect: Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy, including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions, would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all-despite the additional funding that would be available under the bill to help reduce premiums. The CBO thinks premiums would be somewhat lower in these states for customers who could afford coverage. "The AHCA does not", he said in a statement.

"This reflects the overall choices that House Republicans made in this bill: provide hundreds of billions in tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations at the expense of people with pre-existing conditions, tax credits for people purchasing coverage in the individual market, and people with Medicaid", Wakana said. The bad news is Obamacare is in deep trouble in some states and a third of all counties - and that congressional Republicans and the president show no interest in trying to fix the program's flaws, starting with the incentives it gives healthy people not to buy coverage.

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. Their proposals will inevitably cover fewer people than the ACA, they say, because they will not compel people to buy insurance.

Among those uninsured, "the increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income-particularly people between 50 and 64 years old with income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level". Eventually, premiums could rise to the point that some plans would have no enrollment.

Benefits likely to be excluded from required coverage in some states would include maternity, mental health and substance abuse services, the report said. There's a 13-member Republican working group.

The CBO did indeed far overestimate the number of people who would sign up for the Obamacare exchanges, as FactCheck.org's Brooks Jackson wrote in March. The American Medical Association, the largest lobbying group for US doctors, said that the House's changes to the bill "offered no real improvements". But the way it does that is essentially by making health insurance unaffordable for sicker Americans.

The legislation narrowly passed the House earlier this month.

Republicans are traditionally more focused on reducing the amount of healthcare spending in the United States budget than on broadening medical coverage. We need to restore the ability for hardworking Michiganders to choose the health care plan that best meets their needs. "This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit". The new CBO score predicts the AHCA would cover 1 million more Americans than Republicans' previous version of the bill, which the agency estimated would have left 24 million more people uninsured than Obamacare in 2026.

Democrats say much of that instability stems from Republican efforts to repeal and undermine the ACA.

The original GOP House health care bill saved $150 billion.

There are concerns that the House legislation could cause procedural obstacles for both chambers. It may take weeks for that determination to be made. They're meeting at least twice a week in private to try and craft a bill that can pass the Senate. As many as 109,399 of his constituents could lose health care coverage under the bill he supported. The group is a non-profit, bipartisan policy organization that assesses budget and fiscal issues.

  • Salvatore Jensen