CBO report rips GOP health bill

Written by the former CEO of an insurance company, Rep. Tom MacArthur, the amendment would allow insurers in certain states to cover less than what is the bare minimum under current law - things like doctors' and hospital visits, prescription drugs, pregnancy and childbirth and mental health services (otherwise known as essential health benefits). The CBO report says the American Health Care Act will result in 23 million fewer Americans having health care under the bill than under Obamacare by 2026.

According to the estimate, premiums would be slightly lower than under the Affordable Care Act, but mostly because "the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs". "It is a damning indictment of congressional Republicans' and President Trump's reassurances that the bill guarantees protection for people with pre-existing conditions", said Emily Gee, health economist at CAP.

The two earliest versions of the bill could not muster enough support for the House leadership to bring them to a vote on the floor.

"I don't put the same reliance on everything they say", MacArthur said. That is the bill approved and now evaluated by CBO. In addition, the waivers could lead to higher community-based premiums over time and the nongroup insurance markets would become unstable beginning 2020.

The report said that under Obama's law, the nation's health insurance market is expected to remain "stable in most areas" because federal subsidies to millions of consumers largely rise with premiums. In the 1990s, she added, people with pre-existing conditions who recently lost their jobs were supposed to be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act from losing or being prevented from obtaining insurance coverage. With President Trump and the rest of the Republican party on a mission to repeal Obamacare, a new health care bill-the American Health Care Act (AHCA)-is slowly inching its way toward becoming law.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. left accompanied by Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. right listens to a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday may 23 2017 following a Democratic policy luncheon. (AP

The bill also would roll back the ACA's expansion of Medicaid. For younger and healthier people, health insurance will be significantly cheaper in these states. It did not guess which states might do that, but the report says that one-sixth of the population could be subject to that instability.

Slavitt notes those reductions would come at the expense of rising costs for many sicker and low-income people as well as Coloradans between 50 and 60 who would no longer be able to afford insurance. Those cuts, along with the elimination of Obamacare's insurance subsidies, are created to offset other provisions of the bill that would increase the deficit; one such provision repeals a tax on investment income, while another repeals annual fees paid by health insurers. And their bill includes money for states to create so-called high-risk pools in which people with medical conditions can buy coverage if commercial insurers refuse them. In contrast, under the Obamacare, only 28 million Americans were estimated to be uninsured by 2026, as reported by CNBC.

But the reaction was not completely partisan. Sen.

The bill faces a tough slog there, with even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky acknowledging he's not sure how the legislation will get the votes needed to pass. But they struggled to agree on a bill after gaining control of Congress and the White House this year. He said Obama's law is "not going to just magically, magically somehow get better" and said Democrats were trying to "blame someone other than themselves for the failures of Obamacare" by not working with the GOP.

  • Larry Hoffman