Millions would lose coverage under House-passed health care bill
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 14:12
The Congressional Budget Office plans to release its estimate Wednesday of what impact the Republican House-passed health care bill would have on coverage and premiums. The most recent estimate was released March 23. Budget rules dictate that if the bill's deficit savings had not reached $2 billion (and that $2 billion had to come from particular spending categories), the bill would be dead upon arrival.
"Congress's focus must be to lower premiums with coverage which passes the Jimmy Kimmel Test". Some 14 million fewer people would qualify for Medicaid in 2026, the same number as in CBO's original assessment.
The effects of the bill would be immediate. The current bill alters the requirement under current law that insurers cover essential health benefits, such as prescriptions, mental health treatment, and maternity and newborn care, allowing states to greatly roll back the kinds of care that are included.
The budget office report further undermines claims by President Donald Trump and House Republicans that their campaign to repeal and replace the current health care law, often called Obamacare - will protect all Americans' access to health care. Provisions the House added ostensibly to make the bill more palatable to moderates don't offer a significant improvement in terms of the number of Americans whose coverage is jeopardized, the CBO found. Opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of respondents dislike the bill.
The bill would eliminate most Obamacare taxes that help subsidize private health coverage for individuals, roll back the government's Medicaid health plan for the poor and disabled and replace the law's income-based tax credits for buying medical coverage with credits based on age.
"Over time, it would become more hard for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly", the CBO wrote.
"Although relatively young and healthy people might prefer plans with fewer benefits and lower premiums", it observed, "many older people and people who use the services that were no longer covered could face substantial out-of-pocket costs and would not find such plans attractive". Three weeks after passing the bill, however, they have not sent the bill on to the Senate yet, because they were waiting on this score. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranked Senate Republican.
Senate Democrats seized on the new budget estimate, arguing that their GOP counterparts would be foolhardy to press ahead with a bill along the lines of the House. At least a simple majority will be required. Thousands of people in the state will lose health insurance and vital funding for Medicaid will be stripped away from families.
Cornyn said he expected his Senate colleagues to begin to piece together legislative proposals soon.
"We will get a score next week".
"I don't know how we get to 50 at the moment", Mr. McConnell told Reuters on Wednesday. "But that's the goal", he said.
McConnell has made this legislation a top priority for his conference, with the topic dominating its gatherings.
The nonpartisan CBO is "scoring" the bill, or calculating its cost to the government, as well as how many people would actually have coverage.
Republican leaders in the Senate have said they hope to vote on a bill before adjourning for the August recess. Budget reconciliation measures are not susceptible to filibusters in the Senate, which require 60 votes to break. "That means the House would have to redo the bill".