GOP Health Care Act Would Reduce Deficit, But Leave Millions Uninsured, CBO Says

The nonpartisan group shared its analysis of the American Health Care Act.
GOP Health Care Act Would Reduce Deficit, But Leave Millions Uninsured, CBO Says

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, center, holds up a copy of the American Health Care Act.

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Under the Republicans' proposed American Health Care Act, the federal budget deficit would decrease by more than $300 billion over the next 10 years, but would leave millions of people uninsured, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO on Monday shared its analysis of the legislation that it conducted in concert with the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The report estimates that in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured compared to conditions under the Affordable Care Act, and that number would continue to grow, in large part due to the changes made to subsidies for insurance purchases by individuals with non-group coverage and the freeze on expanded Medicaid enrollment.

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“The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise to 21 million in 2020 and then to 24 million in 2026," the report says. "In 2026, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.”

It also found that by 2026, 7 million fewer people would be covered by their workplace. Additionally, in the AHCA as it stands now, premiums for single policyholders in a nongroup market would go up anywhere from 15 to 20 percent compared to the ACA. The price hike for these premiums stands to impact older and lower income Americans.  

The report comes after a contentious introduction, which last week saw advocacy groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) voice concerns in letters to Congress about the potential for a significant loss of coverage.

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“It appears that the effort to restructure the Medicaid program will have the effect of making significant reductions in a program that provides services to our most vulnerable populations, and already pays providers significantly less than the cost of providing care,” wrote the AHA in its message. “Providing flexibility to the states to expand coverage, and create innovative financing and delivery models to improve care and program sustainability, can be achieved through other alternatives.”

The AMA echoed this stance, writing, “While we agree that there are problems with the ACA that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.”

Edition: June 2017

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