Report says bill would cut deficit by $119b

It would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected in late March for an earlier version of the bill.

Under current law, the CBO wrote, the markets will be "stable in most areas" because lower-income Americans buying individual insurance will be shielded from rising Obamacare premiums, thanks to subsidies.

The CBO released a new estimate of the bill on Wednesday.

Republicans face a backlash from some voters for undoing the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions, and the bill violates President Donald Trump's oft-stated promises that he would replace the Affordable Care Act with something better that covered everyone with lower premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. Many Republicans have said they are largely focused on steps that will reduce premiums.

Prior to the report's release speculation mounted suggesting the lower chamber might have been forced to reconsider the American Health Care Act had the savings threshold not been met.

He said while premiums are predicted to go down in the following years, Schumer argued "that's because the coverage is so bad".

Hernandez noted that the bill's proposal to cut spending on Medicaid - a federal program that covers roughly 69 million Americans, including around 14 million Californians - by $880 billion over the next decade would have an especially serious impact in the Golden State, where the program covers one in three Californians.

The extended back and forth over the bill emphasizes the inherent tension faced by Republicans politicians, whose president has effectively promised universal coverage and no cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. And ultimately, those people will "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" in the law to offset those costs. That would draw more people into those markets, keeping them stable in many part of the country, the CBO forecasts. In states that made moderate changes to their markets, representing about one-third of the USA population, premiums would fall 20 percent on average. They'd be subject to such sharp premium increases to cover their medical conditions that, for many, coverage would be priced out of reach.

In 2026, an estimated 51 million people under the age of 65 years would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would be uninsured that year under the existing law.

In the weeks leading up to passage of the House bill, Republican leaders revised it to win support from some of the most conservative members of their party.

And in the places that opt to jettison the law's protections, premiums would vary widely based on a consumer's health status and the benefits provided in the policy. For GOP senators holding private meetings to sketch out their own legislation, its figures will be a starting point as they consider changing the House's Medicaid cuts, tax credits and other policies.

Wednesday's report also estimates that the GOP bill would raise premiums over time for people who are less healthy in states that seek and receive the controversial waivers from rules enforcing the coverage of pre-existing conditions from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The GOP health bill also could lead "a few million" to purchase insurance policies that would not cover major medical risks, the CBO said. McConnell, however, told Reuters on Wednesday he does not yet know how Republicans will have the necessary votes. "While I am in favor of repealing Obamacare, I am opposed to the American Health Care Act in its current form", Republican Senator Dean Heller said in a statement.

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. And effects on premiums matter, since Senate GOP lawmakers have said their main goal is to bring down premium costs.

  • Zachary Reyes