Uninsured rise by 23 million under Republican health bill: forecast

It found that the federal deficit would be reduced by $119 billion over the next decade under the bill, with 14 million more people uninsured over the next year, 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026.

That's what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday in its latest score of the American Health Care Act.

The new analysis by the CBO did not include state-specific figures, but an examination of the Medicaid portions of the American Health Care Act, conducted by the Colorado Health Institute, found that the bill would leave 600,000 more people uninsured in Colorado by 2030 compared to current law as a result of ending the Medicaid expansion.

"This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit", House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. Here premiums would likely be 20 percent lower at the end of the decade, "primarily because, on average, insurance policies would provide fewer benefits".

The CBO scored the updated version of the bill with the amendment and concluded states choosing to repeal those mandates would affect one-sixth of the US population and would cause premiums for sick people in waiver states to skyrocket. Jordan pitched this report as proof that GOP-led health care reform could at least reduce government spending even if it couldn't increase insurance coverage.

The new estimates will serve as a starting point for GOP senators starting to write their own version of the legislation as they consider changing the House's Medicaid cuts, tax credits and other policies. To avoid a filibuster, Senate Republicans plan to take the bill up under budget reconciliation rules, which only require a majority vote, but it means the legislation can not increase the federal deficit within a 10-year window. The bad news for Senate Republicans: Today's CBO score on the most recent version of the American Health Care Act qualifies for reconciliation in its current form, so it's coming their way ASAP. It would eliminate the mandates that require almost all Americans to have coverage and companies with more than 50 workers to provide health benefits. It is now headed to the Republican-held Senate where its future remains uncertain.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Richard Besser, MD, spoke in favor of the health insurance coverage Americans gained under the ACA. That dollar figure was a considerable change from the original version of the bill that CBO said would have saved $337 billion, but lawmakers made a decision to spend back some of those savings on help for those likely to be cut off from insurance. But CBO went deeper and said that, in some of these states with the waivers, premiums may go down for some people, but, overall, they think that health care costs could substantially increase, because what you're getting are health insurance packages that cover a lot less. States could also get waivers that allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. There, premiums would be a mere 4 percent lower by 2024, largely because the AHCA's basic structure would tend to price older Americans out of the insurance market and draw in younger customers, who pay less for their coverage.

"This assessment from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office proves that the bill passed by a party-line vote with no hearings will be unsafe and harmful".

"If you are an individual with a preexisting condition in a state that uses the waiver, you will not be able to buy insurance", Murphy said. Rates, however, would vary widely depending on what benefits states require insurers to cover.

Ryan, as well as other lawmakers, pointed to what they see as ObamaCare's failures.

Republicans have sought to unravel Obamacare since its passage and Trump promised on the campaign trail to repeal it, saying it is too costly and an overreach by government in the healthcare market. The Trump administration already has relied on the House bill's health-care spending cuts in its proposed federal budget. The law would allow states to waive that federal mandate and replace it with their own set of required benefits. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums. They are not eligible for the laws subsidies, so there is likely less adverse selection for the off-exchange population, but these enrollees have to bear the entirety of the costs of those increases.

  • Zachary Reyes